What pros and cons do you experience when using datepickers in web forms or software?
What do you think is missing sometimes?
What bugs you when using a datepicker?

I want to know, either from user-input view or from a datepicker-integrator view.

There are already some questions like Better way for users to select a date range but I'm aiming for thoughts and opinions currently available datepickers are not implementing.

3 Answers 3


Birth year: They keep starting at the current year, when most people will be 18+ and have to scroll more than 18 years to get to their age. They feel old and have to scroll a lot.

Date Picker vs just typing it in: unless the date requires context of other dates or you need to select a range, just let people type in the date. Its proven that people don't mind typing in short fields. They aren't as dumb as you think. haha

Date Ranges: Allow for dragging.

Date Picker: Help your users out and include common holidays (maybe depending on country chosen) and integration of their own calendar. I knew a few times I made the mistake of choosing something over another date.

Birth Year: Just forget a picker for this, let me type in my age. (Edit: Pointy added that you may not want to do this when the year is important because some people view their age differently. To add to that I know that in Iran, for example, they count their age differently and so count themselves 1 year than those in the U.S. would.)

Happy Birthday: If they the enter their birthday into the form, and it's the day, have some special message for them.

Choose generic mark up: Don't give your forms special names be generic so autofill takes care the rest.

3rd Party Log in: When you are able, let them skip out on forms all together and sign in with twitter, facebook, google, etc.

  • 1
    One more thing: don't use hover effects to display the picker. Aside from the user having to discover that behaviour it creates issues on touch devices.
    – phinetune
    Jun 9, 2011 at 3:12
  • 1
    Getting just the user's age for birth year doesn't really work, because people measure age from the day they were born. If it's really important (for some financial applications), there's no choice but to get the real year. I agree that just having them type it in is the simplest, quickest thing.
    – Pointy
    Jun 9, 2011 at 15:27
  • Very good point @Pointy (sorry I had to, but really thats a very good point) I'll edit and add that in. But in cases where its not important I would like to enter in m y 2 digit age.
    – jonshariat
    Jun 9, 2011 at 16:15
  • very nice points.
    – pdu
    Jun 14, 2011 at 5:49
  • The Happy Birthday message is the best idea I've heard in ages. +1 Jun 16, 2011 at 21:56

Date of Birth: Pickers for dates of birth are just inappropriate and too cumbersome. Either let the user choose from a series of drop-downs (controversial?) or type the date as free-text (and then validate it for them).

(Tangent: I only mention the drop-down vs. text field issue because, in my experience within a certain context, the former has a consistently better conversion rate)

Times: Time choosing is generally poorly thought out, I think. A user should be able to type a time (in some controlled/validated way). Potentially using a field mask or something like that. I don't like a time picker deciding that I can only choose 5 minute increments or forcing me to use 2 drop-downs to define my time.

Date Ranges: Link the fields so that the value of one will become the max/min of the other e.g. don't allow user to choose a "To" date that is less than their chosen "From" date (and vice versa).


Credit card expiration dates: All my cards have the date as digits, so why do so many sites use a data picker that has word months? Even to the sad point of using choices like "Jan (01)".

  • Why is that a problem? It's a small bit of extra information, that doesn't interfere in picking the date.
    – John C
    Jun 11, 2011 at 12:56
  • Because you can't type the value from your card in and have it select it, because "11" isn't a choice, "Nov (11)" is. Combo boxes generally have the benefit that they work the same as entry boxes but restrict the input. If the choices don't match what you would type in an entry box, then you lose that benefit. Jun 13, 2011 at 15:11

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