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This comes up over and over and seems like one of the things that every design should have a standard response to.

In the case of non-technical users (regular people, not programmers or anybody that would actually know what UTC is or who would care about current GMT)

How should the time zone be titled? Some options:

  • "Pacific (Seattle & LA)"
  • "Pacific (UTC +8)"
  • "Pacific Standard Time (UTC +8)"
  • "Pacific Time (US: Seattle)"

It seems like including a major city is helpful. Is it standard to offer redundant options in the same time zone with different major cities? Seems especially helpful for Arizona which has some different timezones in it.

I, personally, get confused about Daylight vs Standard time and I don't want to have to get it right in the interface based on the date somebody entered. I'd like to just assume that people say 2pm on a date and plan to have something happen at 2pm whether it's Daylight Savings time or not.

Context: users creating events that have a specific date, start time, end time and location (that exists in the Google Maps API)

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  • Can you provide more details? For instance, why is it important to show the time zone? What are the UI elements you are dealing with here? Jan 20 '19 at 23:18
  • added context -- thanks! Context: users creating events that have a specific date, start time, end time and location (that exists in the google maps api)
    – pixelfairy
    Jan 20 '19 at 23:33
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I am not really aware of any standard way for non-technical users. Of course, there are standards to specify time in different time zones, but as you said it is not always easy to understand for users.

However, applications that I have seen dealing with multiple time zones that work well generally has this one characteristic - it has a very clear reference point for the user with respective to their current time zone.

That is, you can either present other time zones relative to their current time zone (i.e. 0 days and 1 hr ahead) or you can present all the time zones in one single reference unit (e.g. UTC).

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