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We're overhauling our Course Search service and the question has come up: Which has more meaning? Continuous or Now.

Our UI allows choosing a course start-date from a selection menu of fixed dates. It also allows learners to choose courses which run continuously.

Our debate is over whether the word Continuous has more meaning than Now. Our previous version used the word "Continuous" and some people are concerned if we change to "Now" users will be confused.

Possible options below:

Option A:

start-date continuous


Option B:

start-date now


Option C:

start-date flexible


Does the combination of radio-button and selection menu make sense?

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whats the difference between continous and fixed? –  Mervin Johnsingh Mar 27 at 18:28
    
There is no difference in the meaning. The issue is our old UI used the term Continuous; it's considered a 'known' term and there's concern users will be confused by Now. –  dfdumaresq Mar 27 at 18:34
2  
Your interface is pretty confusing, I still dont get what fixed and now mean –  Mervin Johnsingh Mar 27 at 18:35
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"Starts continuously" has me scratching my head. "Starts now" makes me think I'm only looking a courses starting "now" as oppose to what your answer that it's flexible scheduling. Dennis' wording makes sense to me... like "Flexible, starts anytime" –  nightning Mar 27 at 20:20
1  
It's definitely a hard term to define with a single word or short phrase. "Flexible Start" would make more sense to me. Could you show a short subtitle under that option to explain it? "Classes that can be started at any time" –  Dennis Mar 27 at 20:26

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have worked on web sites for higher education where users can browse programs that are offered in various formats.

For offerings that do not have a specified start/end date (typically online courses), we used Anytime to describe the "start date". We would further explain on the offering pages that the student can progress at their own pace not tied to an academic calendar.

We would implement this in a faceted search UI kind of like this:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The benefit is you have a single visual representation of their "options" and the consistent use of the adverb "anytime" throughout the site reinforces the meaning of the word in relation to an offering.

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1  
Yes, I think that would work better with the single control. The adjective "anytime" is easier to grock than "continuous". It sorts at the top--bonus! I'll accept it. Thanks! –  dfdumaresq Mar 27 at 20:53

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