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

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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

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