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For the past few years apple's calendar app has used this concept of "create quick event" where the user types a sentence in a format that allows the application to separate the data, and create the event that you want.

apple calendar

When the user types in "Work between 5-9 on Friday" the application will add an event on Friday and is titled "work" and the time block will be 5-9.

I have been thinking about doing a similar input field for an internal app. It would be used to log calls to a customer that users are doing everyday for 8 hours a day.

Has anyone had any personal experience with such an input field? Or feel that this way of entering data is challenging for users?

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2 Answers 2

As a user, in most cases I don't trust parser that reads the sentence in such human language format. Most events I enter are appointments. Appointments are always important for me, so I always want to be 100% sure that it was added correctly. So if an application allows me to input my appointment like this, I completely ignore this feature and try to find a normal input form. If no other input is possible, then I'm forced to re-check the result every time. After 1 failure, I will directly switch to an alternative application, because I don't want such technology to cause me trouble.

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Google Calendar uses a similar input field and I'm quite fond of it. Like Apple's Calendar, it shows a suggestion for how to input a value into it, making it fairly accessible to users. The difficulty with implementing one though is putting enough intelligence into the parsing that it can accept the vast majority of options and formats a user may try.

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I suspect the same sentence parsing is used in their voice-activated reminder creation system. "Remind me to do X [today/tonight/tomorrow/at 3/tomorrow night at 7/when I get home/etc]" seems to work pretty seamlessly –  Yamikuronue Oct 31 '13 at 20:24

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