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I'm working on a project where there are numerous time entries for a given a record.

The times are stored in the database as timestamp, however for display and editing it's clutter to display the entire timestamp, as the users are only interested in hours:minutes (time of day) and being allowed to edit (or create) that time.

I'm having issues coming up with a user-friendly way for them to enter these times (and dates). I was using the jQuery datetime picker with pushback from the users (they dis-like the slider). Anyway, I'm trying to come up with ideas to make it better.

I have created a minimal mock-up with other fields omitted for clarity. It's common to have 4-5 rows of these time entries for a given record. The full time-stamp is static. All times are in chronological order. The majority of the time the date doesn't change unless the entry spans to the next day.

minimal mock-up

My question is, what should be the preferred way to enter a date and time? A couple ideas I thought of are:

  • Have the user enter a time and determine the date based on previous time.

  • Try a different datetime picker (although the users will prefer manual entry.)

  • Would a calendar-like view work? It is very easy to enter new time points or intervals when presented in a timeline by just clicking and/or dragging, provided you snap to 15 or 30 minute intervals. – Danita Nov 25 '14 at 18:44
  • do you need to give fine control of the time (e.g. 02:13 AM) or a restraint set is possible (e.g. working hours, 5/30 min steps)? – Édouard Lopez Oct 29 '15 at 8:52
  • Are you working on desktop/mobile/smart watch? UI will differ for each platform – Édouard Lopez Oct 29 '15 at 8:53
  • What is the task your user try to accomplish? – Édouard Lopez Oct 29 '15 at 8:54
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Most date and time pickers provide a terrible user experience: they require clicking and scrolling through a large amount of irrelevant dates and/or times. Unless the user needs to keep track of a date relative to those around it on a calendar (for example when planning travel dates), picking dates in a calendar format adds no value.

An alternative to using date and time pickers it to use an input mask. Input masks allow the user to simply type the date and/or time by following the defined pattern. No more hunting and pecking.

jquery.inputmask is one JavaScript solution that makes using input masks straightforward.

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I would suggest having a regular text box where the user can type in a value, and include a dropdown arrow which expands into a more visual view of their choice.

For a visual view you could do something similar to what the Google alarm clock app does:

enter image description here

Tapping on different parts of the clock sets the time to wherever you tapped, and tapping on the numbers changes the clock from hours to minutes.

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