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I'm building a website where a user can set up a webpage for an event.

The user needs to select a date without being frustrated from clicking a lot on a date picker. Is it a text-input a good way to ask for a date, or is it better to use a drop-down or a little calendar?

Has there been a UX study on this use case?

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How are you going to offer them the right date without "clicking a ton of time on a date picker"? –  James Jenkins Nov 5 '13 at 20:23
    
What detail is needed for the event dates and times? Would a day do, or do you need the time as well? Would the starting time do, or do you also need the end time? –  JOG Nov 5 '13 at 20:47
    
I was considering text input for month day and year but I don't know if I appreciate them just because I'm a geek –  Jules Nov 5 '13 at 21:20
    
The problem with a text input field is that people (including myself) will worry that they aren't using the correct date format. For simplicity I would go with the suggestion of 3 select boxes as mentioned by Colin (Unless its a deal breaker not to have the name of the day displayed) Some datepicker plugins do have an overview from which you can just select the month and day (not too many clicks at all). This one looks decent: keith-wood.name/datepick.html –  Joe Taylor Nov 5 '13 at 21:49
    
There are date related input fields, but not every browser supports them: dev.opera.com/articles/view/new-form-features-in-html5, miketaylr.com/code/input-type-attr.html –  cimmanon Nov 5 '13 at 22:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A combination is normally a good way to go.

As an example, the London Underground website allows you to check train schedules at a given date/time.

When you go onto the site, it defaults to 'Today' for the date and the current time:

enter image description here

When you choose to edit the date, while giving a date picker, it also provides quick links to "today" and "tomorrow", which are the user's likeliest choices:

enter image description here

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(Apologies for the massive images, not sure what happened there) –  anotherdave Nov 6 '13 at 19:28

have you considered drop downs ?

if your goal is to reduce clicks then providing three drop downs would be a good solution.

Assuming a wide range of possible input dates, an assumption based on the assertion that you don't want users to click lots on a date picker, perhaps looking at how sites handle dates of birth would be a good idea. Dates of birth range hugely and are usually handled with three drop downs, as Facebook demonstrate on their anonymous facing home page: https://www.facebook.com/r.php?locale=en_GB

Looking at events however, you may find a date picker is the best solution if the events are all within a month or two of today's date, clicks would be reduced as date pickers usually work on a month by month basis.

Another thing you can do with an event entry system is provide robust repetition logic for allowing sequences of events to be entered.

EDIT ...

A third alternative would be simple text fields, supported by robust client side validation. With tabs for fields you could remove clicks altogether. The validation is tricky when you consider how varied date formatting is, but I expect an open source java script product will cover this, or at least give you a good head start

This would remove a lot of the cognitive load of large drop downs or date picker calendars

If you do decide on date pickers, another thing you can also consider is to allow date ranges to be picked in one field, as this article demonstrates:

http://uxmovement.com/forms/how-travel-websites-can-make-their-calendars-faster/

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