What's the best way for entering time in a 12-hour format?

  1. It's easier to select from a radio button AM / PM but since this field is optional, what if they decided not to fill it out, they cannot unselect the radio button.

  2. Here they're able to unselect AM/PM but defaulting to 'Select' but it's not as fast as just tapping a radio button.

enter image description here

Which is better? Or any other suggestions?

  • What do think about a switch with 2 label on each side (Am - Pm)
    – Core972
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:46
  • But I cannot unselect AM/PM if that's the case? @Core972 It must be either side.. Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 3:51
  • Usually the AM option is selected by default.
    – asiegf
    Commented Aug 8, 2018 at 15:55
  • You mention that the AM/PM is optional. If a user doesn't select AM or PM, does that mean that the time is in 24-hour format? Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


I like the radio buttons in that the information is not hidden. As an European, who hardly use AM/PM, I would try to look for the other numbers and make a mess before realizing that I just had to choose AM/PM. By seeing the options I get clear expectations and my mind set to the AM/PM model.

  • I didn't realize that AM/PM was not really a thing in Europe. Is that all of Europe (i.e. EU) in general or in specific regions?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 22:11
  • 2
    From Wikipedia: The 24-hour clock enjoys broad everyday usage in most non-English speaking countries en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_and_time_representation_by_country Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 0:15
  • Yeah, I currently live in Norway, have lived in The Netherlands, Spain and UK and for what I know most people use the 24h one. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 22:06

Showing the user information straightforward is incredibly effective. Less than 4 options show a radio fieldset.

When you have less than 4 items to display anywhere it almost always is a better idea to just show them to the user as in the case of radio buttons.

When you have several amounts to show then a dreaded dropdown option would suffice but for usability sake make the most used option a default preset so the user doesn't have to dig though massive amounts of data.

  • Can you explain your answer a little bit more? It is a little bit difficult to understand the second part of your answer.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 22:12
  • Pick an option to be preset either AM or PM. This way the user knows these can be active via the radio options. A user would know they can toggle. If its in a dropdown also preset a value instead of select as it would help them know that is something to interact with. I believe AM/PM a radio is pretty straightforward. No hidden values in a dropdown unless you have many other options.
    – thedude
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.