We have a mobile app, which on the same screen, has a means to select Time and a means to select Duration; like this:

enter image description here

  • Time Left Home is a time of day

  • Planned Work Duration is duration

Both of these options open the standard dialog for selecting a time as such:

enter image description here

There has been some confusion found in our user testing about whether the user thinks Planned Work Duration should be how long they are working for, or to what time they are working till.

What is the best way of comunicating this differentation to the user? Has there been any studies on how to do this? Should we consider icon use - if so what icon best represents duration in your experience? Essentially, how can we make it clear that we need Duration rather than Time.

The requirements are:

  • The fields must remain in the same order
  • The fields must use the standard time selector (so we are limited as to what we can change there)

We have tried playing around with the terminology but that also seems somewhat problematic and subjective.

  • So, if you're selecting 'Time' then 01:30 means 'half past one' but if you're selecting 'Duration' then it means 'one hour, thirty minutes'?
    – JonW
    Nov 3, 2014 at 16:57
  • Since this seems to be intended for a touchscreen UI, did you consider a graphic approach as found in calendar apps where you specify a duration by drawing from start to end time (all of which are draggable later on for adjustments)?
    – Crissov
    Nov 3, 2014 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


First, the wording leaves too much ambiguity; be clear and the point.

  • What time did you leave home?

  • How long do you plan to work (hours)?

I know this isn't short and sweet, we need more clarity to understand what is needed.

Second Input

Personally I would change it to: - "Planned Work Duration" - cal, number input, "+ and - " along with word "hour" ex. 12.5 hours

BUT: I know you have a fix variable here, but I don't see how you can fix the confusion unless you re-word the question to "How long do you plan to work (hours)?" and/or leave some cue to the user what this value represents.

An icon for duration: the only thing I can think of is a clock/stopwatch with a pie piece shaded.


The simplest solution might be to have users enter the time work completes, and then have your program (or spreadsheet analysts) compute work duration from the two times (assuming you're including commuting in the calcs).

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