When I start reading the date, 18 doesn’t really mean anything to me.
It is the 18th day of the month. Hope that helps.
Maybe this comment is a bit snarky, but I love it.
It's absolutely mind-boggling when "design problems" get torn down in this way. Does the author suppose that anyone, ever, reads a date one number at a time with pauses to contemplate each entry? Date: 18/2/2016. 18!?! OF WHAT?? Oh, thank God, there's a 2 next... if only I knew what this 18 and this 2 meant, together? Simultaneously, these two numbers are completely arbitrary to me. Luckily, there is a slash between them; I know this may be a date but certainly not a time. If there is a year next, I'll be certain. There is another slash here... could it be? Ah, yes, a familiar 4 digit date code! Perfect. This is in fact a date. I wish this was somehow simpler.
Remember that its not necessarily even about initial parsing. Comparing dates visually with month first is much faster, for ex
That's not the point, the point is that referring to the 18th day of a month without any context is mostly useless. The only time it really makes sense is when someone asks you a question verbally "When are you going?" "I leave on the 18th." because then it is obvious that they mean this month.
The year is useless context because it is too broad. A month provides ideal context.
In that point in time, they are both numbers so I don't see how seeing 18 first or 2 first would make a difference. Numbers without context don't mean anything.
Calendars are just conventions so there is some prior learning involved before using them. Adding some logical sense to a convention will make it easier to remember and learn. For example, It is easier to remember counting things from the small number to big (1,2,3 ), than just remembering some arbitrary order (2,1,3).
Also, if you see 18 first you know it is not a month because it is bigger than 12. A better example would be 2.12.2016. In a situation like this, you need a better convention to figure out if the 2 is a month or a day.
But you do know the context is a date. The point is what is more important context within the date context? Day or month first? Year first is mostly useless because rarely are people referring to specific dates in other years.
The argument here isn't what is more logical or easy to remember from a state of complete lack of context, you know you are looking at a date, the argument is what is more useful to see first.
Pretend you are describing a location to someone with Latitude/Longitude, Region/State. What is easier, the coordinate numbers first followed by the Region, or the Region first, followed by the coordinates? I would want to know what region I am thinking about first, before knowing the EXACT coordinates.
This man gets it.
You need a month to make sense of a date. It sets your context.
But which month? While I still prefer the non-us approach (I'm from the UK) I do understand why it makes sense having the month first.
I have to admit that the title threw me off for a second, I thought this was going to be dating advice "How to pick up that special someone" from Joel Califa and unsolicited at that.
That's actually my next post
Yeah, I don't dig this!
First, it's always, 18/02/2016 (see the 0 before 2). Also, most languages go: 18th of February, 2016...
And it's not controversial... I'm sure I can write the exact opposite article and it will make sense again...
Huh, most people I know say "February 18th, 2016".
As much as I see the European way being more consistent, I prefer the context of the month first.
Most people I know just say 1455771600
I'm a child of parents from different countries, speaking completely different languages (Latin and Cyrillic)...
I understand that English is a universal web language now, but in Italian it goes: 18 febbraio 2016; In Bulgarian it is: 18 февруари, 2016...
Actually, same for German...
Makes a lot of sense. That title tho :-)
Haha pretty much yeah :P
Its only /1/4 but this is already one my favorite for 16//!
on the US date format being "designery", it takes a lot of stomach to say that. Being born in the US probably helps. To me it's just fucking confusing every time I look at it.
Biases: everyone has their own, not everyone realize it.
For the record, I was born in London and just moved to the US about 6 years ago :)
Interesting read! You might also be interested in this fascinating 99PI podcast on calendar formats: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-calendar/
I’ve been on a low-key crusade for YYYY-MM-DD ever since XKCD pointed it out way back when. IMO, any given format would be pretty much fine if we would just settle on one, so go with the official standard. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
official standard in which country?
I think Calum meant "international standard" as it is from ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
International standards are available for consideration and use worldwide
Ah ok, I have literally never seen the ISO of date notation before.
Live in the UK, I don't have strong opinion on it, but logically if someone asks the date, I'd say..
"The 6th" (presuming they knew which month we were in) "of what?" "January" (presuming they knew which year we were in) "but which year?" "2016"
06/01/2016 or 6th January, 2016
Clever Title :D
That said, I can understand why Americans might like the moth/day/year format. They say "January, the 6th of 2016". In German though, you say its "the 6th (of) January 2016" (der 6. Jänner 2016). Similar in french, where you say "the 6 of January 2016" (le 6 janvier 2016).
To that, I definitely plan my life according to the day. I get my salary on the 1st, have to pay my rent on the 5th, and all the other bills are automatically paid on certain dates as well. Everything here is on a monthly, or bi-monthly basis, whereas in the US, as I understand it, a lot of things are on a weekly basis.
I don't think the argument, that you lack context on the day number alone because you need the month first, is that relevant, while surely factually true. But I think, when humans see a date-pattern, they see three numbers at the same time and the brain sorts their meaning according to the learned pattern. Which is why I have huge issues with, for example 6/10/15. To me, that means 6th of October, to an american it means the 10th of June. That also ties in with your thinking voice that literally pronounces the date you see, even when you don't consciously hear it. And in my thoughts I hear "6th of october", not "october 6th". Its just not that relevant, because it purely depends on cultural influence :D
All that said, I truly wanna thank you for some good, original content. You don't see this too often on designernews.co. I love the fact, that you used the border-bottom-color to consistently indicate month, day and year. That's design used to enhance content, not to decorate it - it's such a little thing, but I love that! And I love the fact that it didn't appear on stupid medium :3
Hey, thanks for the thoughtful feedback! I think I agree with you about people taking in dates as a whole rather than reading number by number, but that doesn't mean you're not backtracking mentally to put the day inside the month (unless you are, like you said, focused on day-to-day). Obviously a lot of this is subjective!
Anyway, even if people take the date in as a whole, I don't think that's reason enough to stop trying to make things better. I'm not surprised that a lot of the feedback here has been "if it aint broke..." but I do wish people were more open to questioning conventions.
Really glad you enjoyed the article and the design! Thanks for the feedback :)
Oh Joel....did you really have too?
Seems like a rehash of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFDRXVs44bo
When I read the title, I thought it was about… Tinder-like dating.
I blame modern internet culture
Seems like there was some mental gymnastics to come up with a problem that fit a solution.