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What's the best way for a user to indicate their preferred way to see numbers and dates.

I could:

  1. Ask the user to enter a country - but that seems like a confusing question to ask someone as they first start using a system. It's also not such a simple question since a person may be working in a foreign country but might want to see numbers and dates the way they're accustomed to in their home country.
  2. Show a dropdown of number/date format options
  3. Something else

Anyone have any suggestions on the least confusing way I can get this information for a user when they first sign-up on my system?

By the way, I'm aware of Accept-Language, but I understand that it's not reliable.

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  • Question indicates of not targeting specific users as well as domains(Accounting, Entertainment etc) So I suggest to take a format from user at first and apply later – Jivan Nov 16 '16 at 7:30
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Auto choosing by country would seem a little too locked down to me - it wouldn't take into account somebody working overseas, for example, or somebody who simply has a preference fro an alternate date format.

Microsoft Excel allows you to choose a date format to use when updating the layout of a cell or group of cells to date - they provide a model of a particular date in each of the formats available and allow you to choose. A dropdown using these suggested formats, or a subset of them, would be simple, but visually very effective.

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Let the user choose each item as they please.

Eg "Choose your date format preference" (with all applicable options you are providing.

If you can determine a logical default that's fine but don't presume because I'm a user in country X that I want date format Y.

Eg for me personally I prefer dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format though my country's typical format is DD/MM/YYYY. I prefer 24h time over 12h.

In fact some countries are specifically mixed. In Canada we are officially metric... but we use US 8.5"X11" Letter paper not A4... I get my weather in Celsius but (most) tend to measure heights in imperial (I'm 6'0"... not 183cm?) I want the US keyboard layout, not the Canadian one, but I do want the Canadian/UK spelling/dictionary (not the US one)

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Pick up the format from the system being used.

Windows as part of setup asks the user to choose various formats, among them date-time. I'm fairly sure Macs do as well (it's been a long time). The various interface options for Unix also do (I use xfce under FreeBSD).

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