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I am being questioned whether a user will intuitively know that leaving a Due date field blank (and is not required), will mean there is no due date. Any thoughts for an explanation or other suggestions?

Due date field

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It sounds like the lack of a due date is a valid use case that needs to be made more obvious.

It can be hard to tell the difference between "hasn't entered a due date yet" vs. "there will never be a due date."

If the ability to enter things like "59 days" is not a critical feature, you can solve this problem by using a select dropdown instead of a text input. Use date ranges that make sense in your context. It will also help users enter the data faster if they only need to think about selecting one of the available options instead of typing in a custom value from scratch.

Due date dropdown example.

  • The user needs to be able to enter explicit number of days. – Steve L Jan 12 '15 at 19:49
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As a user, I wouldn't be certain if the box should be left blank, I should enter a "0", or if entries without due days weren't allowed. I think adding a checkbox for the due date and having the due date box greyed out if it is unchecked would be the most clear. Preventing the user from making an entry if there is no due date removes any ambiguity.

mockup with due date checkbox

  • By answering "as a user" that really means you're just giving one subjective opinion. That may or may not be the case with the majority of users though. – JonW Jan 9 '15 at 20:38
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I think this should be more specific than leaving a blank field. A blank field can get ambiguos as there can be many interpretations from the point of view of the user.

I would go, as suggested by poison-ivy, with an explicit option for "no due date". Or telling the user via a tooltip, that leaving a blank would mean "no due date".

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Since it is not a required field, it is possible that a user just forgets to enter the due date. As a user (assuming I know this), it would make me questions whether there is no actual due date or if it was just missed.

If users are expected to enter a due date most of the time, I would make this a required field and have an option "no due date".

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