I'm working on this mobile application that should display a lightweight report. However, I've ended up in an interesting discussion with my colleauges, and thought I'd seek some advice.

Our discussion is this; When displaying a lightweight report on a mobile device (phone, not tablet), is it cumbersome for the user to first select the dates in a separate view before being sent to the report, or should the report itself contain two datepickers? Furthermore, if selecting the last choice, should the report display a predefined timespan?

  • Do you have any screen shots of either design?
    – elemjay19
    Feb 11, 2014 at 9:16
  • I'm sorry. As of right now this is a discussion where we seek advice for better practices :) Feb 11, 2014 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


It's hard to answer because it depends on what your users expect and this may vary from system to system (depending on its specific nature) and from user to user.

Is it possible to say what timespan user would be interested most commonly? Maybe last month or so?

If the answer is "yes": You should display report for predefined timespan but allow him/her to modify it. Optionally, you can give him/her some predefined options to choose, like "last week" and "last month".

If the answer is "no": You should present the datepickers as the initial step.

If it depends on the user: Use any of the above, but let users modify it in settings. Optionally, you can let your users create templates and even present him/her some predefined ones (last week, last month...).

If you don't know it: This is tricky - as it mostly depends on the system/user, try to present any of the above but also test it (via A/B tests or a poll) until you know what users prefer. If there is a strong preference (like 80-20) of one over another - implement this option. If the difference between what users choose is slight, it should be based on a per-user setting.

Remember that if you decide to display a report without the additional screen, you can place the datepickers on some overlay to not make users reload a page to access them.

  • Thank you for your brief, yet very nice answer :) I'll be sure to bring this up in the discussion! Feb 11, 2014 at 11:08

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