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The system I am working on allows users to post events and find events they wish to go to. Currently, events are very rarely submitted more than 2 months in advance, so allowing a user to scroll into the future beyond that serves no real purpose. The majority of events are in the system roughly 1 month in advance. This behavior may or may not change in the future as the userbase grows.

My gut says that a calendar is going to be the best way to present a collection of dates that have events so that they can quickly find out what's happening on a specific date, but I am open to other options. Here are the mock-ups I've been exploring (dates that have events will appear different from dates without events, and the starting week is dictated by today's date):

A 5-week Calendar

This looks most like what people expect when they think calendar, but only covers the highest concentration of events. If there are 2 different months filling the calendar, they will be colored differently.

enter image description here

An 8-week Calendar

This covers the majority of events that are upcoming, but looks a little weird to me. Again, different coloring for different months.

enter image description here

An 8-week Calendar, split by month

I am favoring this one, since the divisions feel right, but it takes up a little more space than I was hoping to allocate for the element.

enter image description here

I'm not sure from a technology standpoint how easy it would be for me to pull multiple entire months out of the database. Even if I could, the dates would likely show as not having an event anyway, and would just be a waste of space.

Are there other options I could be exploring or am I on the right track with what I have?

Related: In a calendar, should we show dates that fall outside the current month?

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You shouldn't present collection of dates, instead present events. Nearest event (~2 weeks) widget (short horizon) and separate page with detailed calendar-event data (long horizon) could be better option. –  Alexey Kolchenko Nov 29 '13 at 17:15
    
Viewing events by date is not the only aggregate in place in my application. There are multiple views, including chronologically. –  cimmanon Nov 29 '13 at 17:49

2 Answers 2

If you really need pure calendar view widget you could try the following idea:
enter image description here

Features:

  • Familiar calendar view
  • Economic screen space
  • Amount of events is visible in advance

Still, pure calendar widget works well for dense event flow. You could think out-of-the-box and use more suitable Event Calendar pattern, which more close to @bendataclear answer. There you could find section of a Common pitfalls of event calendar design, which could be useful to you.

Image source: Event Calendar Pattern
enter image description here

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A calendar is great for picking a date but I find a calendar a bit tricky to use for displaying information, if you choose a small cell size you have a very small space but a big cell size limits the data you can display. Also as you say you have a lot of wasted space where there are no events.

I would suggest a event list that you can collapse and expand (similar to Facebook's timeline) which would only show years/months where there were events:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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This seems like a less than ideal way of quickly finding out what's happening on a specific date. –  cimmanon Nov 29 '13 at 19:45
    
@cimmanon You really need to be clear on the usage, will the users be searching for a specific event? looking at a specific date? looking for an event in a date range or specific month? –  bendataclear Nov 30 '13 at 14:29

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