It’s surprising that many websites display dates in formats that can be very confusing to users. Take this date for an example: 11/04/09 – is this April 11th, or November 4th? Format MM/DD/YYY is common for USA, but most of the Europe use DD/MM/YYYY. In Japan it’s YY/MM/DD. They would be very confused with such date. Is it April 2011 already?
You should make dates understandable for all cultures and you can do it if you make it obvious. You should use month names (localized if there is a need for that) and 4 numbers for year. So, our example from the beginning can look like this: 11 April 2009 (or April 11th 2009). This looks better.
Designm.ag shows date in a proper format
Another common issue is showing only day and month information without a year. This is especially common for large calendars on blogs. You can often see “15 Aug” in a calendar. In cases like this it is hard for users to determine if the reading is relevant for them. This applies especially to novice users who are not familiar with the topic. It would be good to show full date in order to enable them to quickly determine if reading is outdated or should they find some more up-to-date reading for particular area.
Calendar on UsabilityPost shows date in a proper format
Althought this looks obvious, many blogs and websites display dates in confusing or incomplete formats. Does this bothers you as well?
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