Which is more intuitive for navigating to last week given the layout below?

Clicking up or clicking down?


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  • 3
    Why does it have to be up and down? Is left/right not an option? – JonW Feb 18 '16 at 17:51
  • 1
    its more convenient to click down as you are moving down to a next week row in a month calendar. – hsawires Feb 18 '16 at 18:37
  • Right/left is an option, just not part of this question. Given the question that was asked ... which is more intuitive to navigate backwards to last week ... up or down? – theChrisMarsh Feb 18 '16 at 21:49
  • I would propose to use the same left-right pattern for the weeks selection. If you choose a day from a month calendar and there is a limited space to show all the months, months are usually presented as a horizontal line, you could show a two previous months or weeks on the horizontal line located higher than list of the days. – steppenwolf Feb 19 '16 at 12:26

As you are showing a partial segment, a week, formatted as one normally does in a month-by-month calendar, UP would be the expected direction for the previous week and DOWN the direction one would look to find the next week.

To clue in the user, I'd add the words LAST WEEK above the top arrow and NEXT WEEK below the bottom arrow.


There's an interesting paper called How Languages Construct Time by Lera Boroditsky that talks about how the mental representation of time is affected by a number of factors. This is the part of the summary:

Across the studies cited here people in different cultures or groups have been shown to differ in whether they think of time as stationary or moving , limited or open-ended , as distance or quantity, horizontal or vertical , oriented from left to right, right to left , front to back , back to front or in cardinal space (e.g. East to West).

So the answer to your question -- what direction of time is more intuitive -- is that it depends. Certainly, in the English-speaking world, it is more common to conceptualise time as moving left to right. But in countries where RTL script is more common, time moving right to left might be more intuitive. For you example, however, I would conclude that neither up or down is intuitive, since it is not appropriate for the culture of your target audience.

  • Very fascinating article, one I will reference on future date/time UX design. – theChrisMarsh Feb 24 '16 at 16:07

It's difficult to answer a question that ultimately comes down to a vote for one of two options. But my vote is up.

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