Possible Duplicate:
Most User-Friendly Form Fields for Entering Date/Time?
Whats the best way to display DOB form fields?

Entering your date of birth into a form should be straight forward, but I've seen a few different approaches to handling this.

The most popular choices seem to be

  • Freeform (perhaps with an input hint to imply how it should be filled in)
  • Datepicker (uses selects from a calender popup)
  • 3 select boxes (makes sure data is valid, but for a large year range might not be easy to fill in)

What is the best approach to entering your date of brith you have seen? how would you handle this? Does anyone have any studies of usability tests for this?

  • This looks like a duplicate of ux.stackexchange.com/q/1232/4695
    – Taj Moore
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 17:53
  • 1
    @tajmo It's not an exact duplicate. This question is much better, actually, because it's focused on a specific (but common) use case: entering one's own date of birth. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 19:23
  • I agree it's better written and the specificity helps, but do you think it will generate substantively different answers?
    – Taj Moore
    Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 20:10
  • 1
    @tajmo It's definitely not a dupe of that question -- the date of birth case is different from the general case. But it is an exact duplicate of ux.stackexchange.com/q/5119/1103 Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


Freeform with an input hint is probably the quickest and simplest. People tend to be very good at typing their birthdate (I guess I've typed mine hundreds of times).

For general date input, the other solutions might be good, but simple text input works well for birthdates. (The hint is necessary to remove ambiguity between d/m/yyyy and m/d/yyyy.)


This perhaps isn't customary, but using something like TimeAPI, you can simply have a regular textbox for freeform input, and in many cases I bet the Chronic back-end will interpret the date correctly. This way users can type the date in the form they feel most comfortable with and you get back a standard result.

It's something that allows freedom, but to some in-experienced (or, one could argue, experienced) web users, it may be confusing without the structure of a select box or date picker (I hate those things, by the way; very few of them don't get in the way).

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