I was thinking of changing the default date & time format from just having the date in full numbers to having the date in a format more natural to natural speaking:
- current format look: 10/23/2023, 8:00
- proposed format look: 10 October 2023, 8:00 ( which is dd MMMM yyyy, HH:mm ) - conversational format
Having the date & time in this format creates an actual meaning. The meaning is given by the viewer’s perception on the date.
These perceptions will be made in either format, but in the current one, the viewer needs to actually do a little work that may involve human error:
- forgetting for a second that October is the 10th month happens,
- making wrong computations on how much time has passed since a page has been edited can happen,
- checking the date to see if something was yesterday or not can be very much needed, etc.
These problems would be better tackled in the next section:
If we’d like to go further, we could improve how this information is rendered in the header of a page:
If today is 10 October and user A is looking at a page last modified on 9 October, he shouldn’t see “Last modified on 9 October”, but just: “Last modified yesterday”.
The general cases would become:
- if the modification was made in the same day with the viewing, the viewer should only see the number of hours since the modification: “today, at 13:13 (5 hours ago)”
- if the action was made a day before the viewing (before 12 am of the current day), the viewer should only see: “yesterday, at 13:13”
- if the action was made the same year as the viewing, the viewer should only see “on 11 July, at 13:13 (4 months ago)” - no need for the year
- if the action was made at least 12 months before the viewing, the viewer should see “on 11 October 2022, at 13:13”
The case in which a format falls would be decided based on some small verification inside an if/switch block.
This concerns the “Going further” requirements, not the initial proposal.
Ideally, one could configure where would they use this format. I can imagine seeing the conversational format useful in the header of the document, but not as useful or maybe even annoying in live data tables. Or… maybe someone sees them useful everywhere, not only in the header and wants to stay cohesive.
I propose having a list of checkboxes with options regarding where to use the conversational format. This list would come after the date & time format in Global Administration. The options would be:
- (checked by default) in the document header
- in all live data tables
- in the information tab
- +checkboxes for any other case ( I’d need help identifying where do we use dates in places different than the ones added above)
What do you think about all of this?