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Suppose in a scheduling app, I want an adjustable view for what is occurring in the next x days.

There are some things that make intuitive sense (e.g. what's happening today, this week, this month). Perhaps use a dreaded dropdown! OR, one could also give the user complete flexibility: [ Show next ___ days ] and the user fills it in.

Is there evidence (or experiences people of had) that suggests one is generally preferred to the other?

  • By scheduling app, do you mean an appointment booking app? By adjustable view, do you mean something that is customisable visually (i.e. show me a certain size of the app) or something customisable in terms of data (i.e. show me certain information within the app) – Anton Mircea Feb 11 at 12:03
  • The app is an example. The general question is about having a number of things to view, and having some predefined limits that make a lot of sense vs. allowing the user to enter an arbitrary value. Google calendar, for example, lets you look at day, 3 day, week, month views? What if i want 8 days?? Apparently thats too bad, but for some reason Google thinks this is best, and people use the app. So im wondering about more evidence around this. – z5h Feb 11 at 14:18
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At a high level, I think the question here is where do you draw the line between offering "default" or "presets" options (https://www.nngroup.com/articles/the-power-of-defaults/ + https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Default_effect ) and allowing a greater locus of control over the system, by providing custom options or settings (https://www.uxbooth.com/articles/the-perception-of-control)

If you want to narrow down what is the best option, I would define first the type of functionality you need to apply this to and follow up with some user testing.

Hope this helps.

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Making a decision is costly in terms of brain resources (in your example, how many days do I want to view my schedule). Narrowing down the possible choices to a few alternatives brings down the cost to something manageable compared to quasi-infinite options that would be enabled by a free input field.

For more on decision-related cost, see the Wikipedia article on decision fatigue.

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