I’m adding a date picker for delivery date selection on a website. I recall developers mentioning that there are issues with date pickers.

Is there anything inherently wrong with date pickers UX-wise?

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    As with most things; it depends how they've been built. There are good ones and there are terrible ones. – JonW Apr 11 '16 at 9:20
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    There are ok ones, and then there are the rest, all varying degrees of terrible. Yet to see a good one. – Confused Apr 11 '16 at 9:46
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    When receiving information on any UX glitch important to get to specifics e.g. (1) problem definition - preferably with [Nielsen] heuristic affected (2) path to re-create problem (3) user persona affected. Because many perceived problems don't stack up in real world situations. – Jason A. Apr 11 '16 at 10:45
  • kylestetz.github.io/CLNDR is quite a good one as you have 100% control over the styles and a pretty good control over the structure and functionality too. This way at least you can design it exactly the way you want. – Novocaine Apr 11 '16 at 11:17
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    Can the user just type in the date that is usually the quickest and if the picker fails to allow this then it is a real reason for me at least not to use the site. – user151019 Apr 11 '16 at 12:00

The jQueryUI datepicker allows the user to enter the date themselves, offers a popup calendar, and a "mask" (e.g. dd/mm/yyyy)

Questions to consider:

  1. International audience of your site - for some weird reason, North American dates are written mm/dd/yyyy (most significant unit first?) and British dates are written dd/mm/yyyy (smallest unit first). Geeky dates are written yyyy/mm/dd (largest unit first). Pick one of these and stick to it, depending on the target audience (or detect locale and provide the regional preference).
  2. when entering date of birth, you need an easy way to go back through the years - so don't use a calendar popup for this. Use three separate fields (dd, mmmm, and yyyy, and make the default setting of the yyyy field at least 18 years ago).
  3. flight/train/bus journeys - most sites where you can book a flight or a train ticket allow you to add a return journey - if this is applicable to your site, you need two popups - and some popups display the next two months to pick your travel time in.
  4. Booking accommodation - you need to be able to pick a range of days on the same calendar, e.g. staying in a hotel for 4 nights. (Have a look at AirBnB which has a nice date range picker.)
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    Date format confusion is usually best avoided by using (abbreviated) names for months, at least on a single-language site. – Crissov Apr 11 '16 at 14:55

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