I'm trying to figure out what is the best way to display a school/subject timetable.

When designing a timeline it's sensible to use time as columns across which will indeed define activities across a period of time. But when it comes to a time table what does it matter the most? time periods on a single day or days in a week.?

I researched and found out some use to time periods as columns (across) and days as rows (verticle) but. I've also seen the other way around. What would be the best and easy to read (for a student) method.


The most basic type of timetable is known as Block Scheduling (Days/Quarters horizontally (x) and Time depicted vertically (y). There are a few types of Block scheduling like 4x4, day-wise or semester-wise. You can see some examples in this Wikipedia article. Another variety is Flexible Modular Scheduling. You can see some examples of Flexible Modular Scheduling here.

Note that it's also a cultural thing and the same solution might not work everywhere.

If you want to go really deep into the subject, you can also refer to this paper on school timetable construction that deals with patterns, algorithms and complexity.

  • that wiki page is a good read . but that pdf is a little bit too much for me :) thanks for the input. i think i'll go for a Block Scheduling table.. that is pretty much clear to read for any user. – astroanu Jul 29 '15 at 6:02
  • True! That pdf is way too deep into the subject matter, but sometimes you do get drifted into the rabbit hole :) – Adit Gupta Jul 29 '15 at 6:04

I would think using a traditional week view, using day (x) and time axis (y), would be a safe bet. Most people have been trained to look at time this way using calendars that have day, week and month views. Recently I was in charge of designing a time-registration system and we found that even presenting more days across weeks was creating confusion.

I don't think flipping the axis like you suggest has any obvious benefits. If this is a graphical system, that you want to use the columns for the classes because they can change while the days of the week don't. This way you can let the UI scroll vertically if needed.

  • "This way you can let the UI scroll vertically if needed." that is something i should consider doing because the time labels are a bit more lengthier than day label. – astroanu Jul 29 '15 at 5:58

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