Head of Product Development at thetrainline.com
27 May 2010 14:04pm
As part of our registration process, and for some of the countires we operate in, as part of the login process, we have to capture date of birth.
Currently, we use dropdowns to select day; month; year. I don't like this dropdown methodology and have an opportunity to change it but don't have time to test it. I am looking to change it to a freetext box with format validation (i.e. as a user you type in 01011900 without having to deal with breaks/tab through boxes and it would appear on the screen 01/01/1900).
Does anyone know what best practice states? Alternatively, has anyone tested different ways of capturing date of birth? I am conscious that my consensus of 1 isn't comprehensive!
Thanks in advance for your help.
Managing Director at 70 Fathoms
27 May 2010 16:54pm
My colleague Simon Daniels will be able to tell you. Drop him a note perhaps at
Managing Director at indiumonline
01 June 2010 16:51pm
The most effective one I've seen is a pop out calendar so you can literally click on the date you want to select.
Don't have any stats on that though!
Planning Director at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas
02 June 2010 11:26am
Do you have any research showing that your users also don't like dropdowns? It is a usability convention these days - an alternative to it is to split it into three free text boxxes (dd/mm/yyyy) - then test these two against each other.
Director at Watson Hall Ltd
29 June 2010 17:48pm
Kate - It would be nice to share the information here - it's a public discussion forum after all!
Andrew - could you get away with either:
This depends on the reason for collecting the data, but then you'd avoid gathering this extra personal data, which needs more careful protection.
30 June 2010 09:39am
Hi - as per Colin's comment, good point. I asked Simon for copy of info and this is it (Simon's one of our consultants and our data "Guru"!):
appear to be a great deal of consensus regarding capturing DOB specifically,
but here are a few observations.
I hope this is useful. You may also be interested in the (rather short) section
on date capture in Graham Rhind’s excellent “Practical International Data
Management” - http://www.grcdi.nl/book3.htm
30 June 2010 10:07am
Thank you for the excellent follow up - this is extremely helpful. Just a quick reminder, even if validation is undertaken on the browser (client-side), make sure it is checked again when it gets back to the server.
07 February 2011 12:27pm
I am researching on a nice way to ask for the date of birth, as it is such a difficult information to capture.
As you were sharing very useful information I was wondering if you would also be able to advice any nice comment/sentence to write when trying to capture date of birth.
08 February 2011 14:23pm
Hi Giulia. I'd be very transparent about why you are capturing it.... why are you capturing DOB?
14 February 2011 15:10pm
Many thanks for answering. I work with a Charity and we try to get DOB for Marketing purposes, so to do some more targeting and segmentation in the future, but it is not easy to say to people I tried to think to explain this but they might feel that we want to "segregate them" for the age they are.
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