It looks like it's been over four years since this was addressed here. Old answers to this settled on a single input for the entire date (with a hint for formatting).

But I see that Google uses a drop-down for the month in their sign-up form: Google birthday inputs

And the US goverment web design standards site uses three input fields: https://playbook.cio.gov/designstandards/form-controls/#date-input

cio.gov Date of Birth inputs

Additionally, what do you think about the label? Birthday vs. Date of Birth vs. Birth Date

  • 1
    The GDS in the UK also shared some of their research about this a few years ago: designnotes.blog.gov.uk/2013/12/05/asking-for-a-date-of-birth. As for the label, I feel like "Birthday" is an annual occurrence that refers to the month and day but doesn't so much imply the year. "Date of Birth" is perhaps clunkier, but it's accurate.
    – in_flight
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 19:51
  • 1
    Wow, that CIO form is stupid! All numeric m-d-y order is just asking for trouble, especially with an international audience (i.e. from anywhere but the US). Also, you should at least link to the older question(s). Without checking I‘m not sure whether this is a duplicate.
    – Crissov
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 20:18
  • I think I'm most surprised that the US government has a style guide considering most of their sites look like they were designed by a potato.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 14:35
  • I like the first one, it associated with my experience better.
    – YogaPanda
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 20:55

4 Answers 4


As a user I prefer seeing a drop down for month selection (the way Google does it) . Especially because it happens frequently that I fill forms on my mobile.

And I also like it when the software is smart and knows how to convert my input if wrong. For instance if I wrote "82" in the year box it should just know it's 1982.


It's not recommended to display a calendar for Date of Birth, which is the context of this post, not, for example, booking a hotel room by date. Calendar's default values display today's date, so navigating back in a calendar to say, 1972, would be a painfully long experience.

  • I agree. We have a date picker for the birthday and the default value is 1985. In our case, the user must be 18 to use our application and we have a range from literally 18 to around 80 years. We also added a dropdown for all years, so it's not that painful, but still worth changing it.
    – alexander
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 12:18

Good design will provide both keyboard and mouse input access. This means the 'Date of Birth' component is a combination of a single text edit field (with hint text - mm/dd/yyyy) and a calendar interface. When the user tabs in the field display the calendar (without blocking the text input). Provide user the option to either use his keyboard to enter the date directly or mouse to interact with the calendar. If the user uses the keyboard, add the forward-slash automatically.

Recognize the device, if it's mobile device, disable text edit field and allow input via calendar interface only to reduce manual errors.

Everybody understands 'Date of Birth' label. 'Birthday' sounds casual, unless you are working on a non-professional application.

  • Keyboard and mouse access is not a requirement for good usability. Text input fields are faster and a calendar interface for things like birthdate is extraneous. Calendar interface on mobile tests much worse than input fields.There are many professional applications that say birthday. Researching your audience for most appropriate use of language is important.
    – srgtick
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 1:27
  • Our label literally says 'Your birthday'. Quite sad.
    – alexander
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 12:19

Using a dropdown for the month name is ideal when you have a wide-range of users all over the world. They don't have to think about whether MM or DD comes first or second. Everyone's familiar with month names.

If you're just using numbers though, three separate fields are best to get the most accurate data. This article "Bad Practices on Birthdate Form Fields" explains that if you don't use a menu users don't have to switch their hands from mouse to keyboard, it can just remain on the keyboard. The length of the text fields works as cues for indicating format input. And writing out the labels instead of abbreviating them prevents users from mixing up MM and DD if they have a habit of typing their birthdate in a certain order.

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