Today's blog post is not about programming. Not directly anyway. Today I will talk about user experience.

I usually think that Google does pretty well when it comes to the user experience. Today however, I stumbled upon a surprising and rather irritating... um, feature. You know how you can limit the search results in time, so that you get results from the last 24 hours, last week, last month and so on? Well, I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted results that was approximately one year old, or older. Luckily, in the end of the timing choices, there is a Custom range alternative.

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The options for limiting the search result in time.

When you click on Custom range, the page will show a couple of text boxes where you can type the dates the dates between which the search should be limited.

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Now, as you may know, dates is a messy field. Here in Sweden we write dates in one way (which happens to conform to the ISO standard). In the US dates are written entirely differently. In France, they write dates like in the US, but they the month and day switch places. In short, when you give the use a text box for writing dates, the ice gets very thin.

Google is obviously aware of this, so they provide an example of how they want you to write the date. Right above the Search button they show you a date in the form that they want, and it happens to be in the US format. Note how the date is carefully chosen so that the French shall not be confused. It is obvious that the first number is the month and the second is the day, since there are only 12 months in a year.

Great! So I put in the dates that interest me:

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...and then I click the Search button. Now it gets confusing. Google tells me that they dates I entered are not valid.

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So, just to try it out, I enter dates my way instead. I am after all using the Swedish Google site (even though I run it in English).

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And when I click Search, this is what I get:

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It works out just fine! Now, notice how the dates that I typed into the text boxes has now been translated into the US date format. If I just click the Search button again, I get the same error as before: that the dates are not valid.

Not very intuitive.


I am working for a great consultancy company called Diversify, located in Sweden. We are hiring skilled .NET developers. If you are interested, don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

Comments

February 17. 2012 17:23

Mattias

Looks like someone took a shortcut... Brilliant and most likely well tested... Or...?

Mattias