User Expectation on a Master Calendar

I'm a web intern retrofitting the master calendar page of the University I work for. We're updating the site for responsiveness (yay!) after a long spell of not being responsive at all (boo).

Currently, on mobile resolutions, I've set the calendar to show a list of events rather than a 7-column classic calendar view. It looks something like this:

Calendar View on Mobile

But when a day has no events planned, the day collapses (vs. the day cell on the 7 column calendar simply being empty):

Collapsed day

The dilemma my team is wondering about is this:

  • Is it more helpful to the user to see a collapsed day that has no events, or
  • Cleaner to remove them entirely and leave it up to the user to realize what day an event is on?
  • Something else?

What would you expect as a user? Thanks for your input.

  • Just one thing about the collapsed day display, it might be difficult for people to click on it to expand it especially when there are more than two days collapsed next to each other and the touch area is not thick or wide enough to press easily.
    – Michael Lai
    Aug 21, 2015 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


I would really consider asking two different questions because full width/desktop view often has a different purpose or use case to the mobile view. For example, you might want to schedule or plan a whole serious of events on a full width/desktop view, while you might only want to view upcoming events on a mobile view where there is limited viewing space and the difficulty of input and comparison makes it less useful for planning purposes.

Having said that, it ultimately comes down to what information you need to display, and how you want to present the information. So perhaps consider your decision making process based on these points:

  1. Amount of content: is it more practical to collapse by default when there is a lot of content or when there isn't a lot of content? Do people want to see all of it or are they just looking for vacant and non-vacant days?
  2. General usage: What type of features or interactions will take place on those views? Is it practical to collapse and is it easy for users to interact with the controls?
  3. Outcome: what do you want the users to accomplish or remember at the end? How will the different ways of displaying the information help to support their goals and tasks?

I would definitely keep the day in there as it will make it harder to absorb if it jumps from say '10' to '15'. This would also make it harder if you were looking for a specific date. When the numbers are in order - even if some are empty - it's easy to take mental shortcuts to find the relevant number.

It's arguable whether it would make it easier to absorb if the empty events were still 'open' and perhaps displayed "no events".

I would personally have them 'open' and display "no events". As the display will be more consistent and uniform (making it easier to skim and take in with minimal effort).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.