Post #78


22nd December 2003, late afternoon | Comments (46)

Here’s a quick questions for you all: has anyone ever used the calendar feature on this site (you can see it in the right hand column of the month, day, and post pages), either as a way to navigate, or just to see when I’ve posted?

The reason I’m interested is that I read a post on Widgetopia asking if calendars were useless on blogs, and it got me wondering why I’d put one in my design.

If it turns out no-one uses the damn thing, and seeing as it takes up quite a lot of vertical space in the side bar, I might as well kill it.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Ben Milleare:

    Funny you should mention this now, I removed the calendar on my front page just a couple of weeks ago as I decided it was useless :-)

    Posted 44 minutes after the fact
  2. Keith:

    I've never used one. I also used to have a calendar on my site (on of my first designs) and ditched it as not very useful. That was well over a year ago and no one has squeaked yet.

    Posted 48 minutes after the fact
  3. Scrivs:

    Calendars would only seem siginificant to me on sites where events happened on certain dates. In that sense random posts on random days do not illicit the use of a calendar. Hell I didn't even know you had one till you said something about it.

    Posted 51 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Jon Gales
  4. Nicole:

    I can't say I've ever used your calendar. Or mine, now that I think of it...

    Posted 53 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  5. Dunstan:

    Funny isn't it?

    As they say on Widgetopia, it's something that comes as default in most blogging templates, and when I built my own site I just put one in without really thinking if it was useful or not.

    Sure, I could (and can) see why people might use it, but it's the one thing I think I have on this site that I _never_ use.

    I think its days are numbered...

    Thanks for the fast responses guys!

    Posted 58 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Nicole
    Inspired: ↓ David
  6. Stuart:

    Nah, kill that puppy. The only one I ever use is mpt's, and that's because he doesn't have any other way of walking through posts. I hate 'em. :)

    Posted 1 hour, 15 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Jon Gales
  7. David House:

    Can't say I have...

    Posted 1 hour, 50 minutes after the fact
  8. Már Örlygsson:

    I use them in my own weblog when I'm browsing for certain days in my old archives. I have a simple calendar at the top of each of my month-archive pages that serves as an index for the chronologically ordered list of entries below.

    Other than that I almost never use these calendar things on weblogs.

    Posted 2 hours, 4 minutes after the fact
  9. Marq:

    I find the type of calendar used on Mark Pilgrim's site is quite useful. Having all the post titles lined up for each month is a good way to jump back if you wish to find something to reference. Of course, having irrelevant titles can hurt more than anything, like an unnecessary punch to the groin.

    Posted 2 hours, 9 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  10. Dunstan:

    "Of course, having irrelevant titles can hurt more than anything, like an unnecessary punch to the groin"

    I can't quite think how to phrase my response, but the use of the word 'unnecessary' there had me laughing :op

    Posted 2 hours, 13 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Marq
  11. David:

    "I think its days are numbered..."

    Of course they are, it's a calendar! Come to mention it, I haven't used the calendar but I haven't considered it to be unnecessary links either. Plus, the sidebar has plenty of vertical space, so I don't think that's an issue.

    Posted 2 hours, 21 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  12. Sian:

    I use the archives section instead of the calender and I took the calender out of my live sites.

    Posted 2 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan, ↓ Sian
  13. Matt:

    The calendar is great. Don't lose it.

    Posted 2 hours, 27 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  14. Dunstan:

    "Plus, the sidebar has plenty of vertical space, so I don't think that's an issue"

    Ah, but I think that we've all become used to huge, long sidebars on sites - one of my biggest goals here is to try to keep those sidebars as clear as possible, while still providing enough information for users.

    Ideally I'd like to keep all the main elements 'above the fold' so to speak at 1280x1024.

    I like clarity in presentation of information, and those sidebars are going to try to reflect that. I obvously don't _want_ to remove useful things, but if on balance I have to remove a rarely used element to ensure that the rest of the elements remain highly usable, then I will.

    Posted 2 hours, 29 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ David
    Inspired: ↓ [m]
  15. Dunstan:

    Ah! I knew it wouldn't be so easy :op

    Posted 2 hours, 30 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Matt
  16. Dunstan:

    "I use the archives section instead of the calender"

    Me too, Sian.

    Posted 2 hours, 31 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Sian
    Inspired: ↓ Sian
  17. Taestell:

    I've never used any blog calenders except for diveintomark's, but I say leave it. It's not going to hurt anything unless it's somehow wasting a lot of server resources or bandwidth, or if you really need the space in your sidebar.

    Posted 2 hours, 33 minutes after the fact
  18. [m]:

    "one of my biggest goals here is to try to keep those sidebars as clear as possible, while still providing enough information for users."

    Don't forget that the more space there is for text, the longer the lines will be. Long lines (about +15 words) reduces readability of the entries. Yes, even the good entries suffer.

    Posted 2 hours, 47 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  19. Dunstan:

    Um, I think we might be at cross-purposes here - I want to keep the right hand sidebar as clear as possible, so people can quickly and easily choose navigation options (without having to peer through lots of clutter). That's one of the reason I'm thinking of bining the calendar - it'd mean less 'noise' in the sidebar.

    But the amount of content in the sidebar doesn't effect the width of the main post (and the amount of words per line). The sidebar width is fixed, regardless of the amount of stuff in it.

    They're independent things.

    The width of the main content area is determined by your browser window width, and whether your browser supports max- and min-width or not.

    Sorry if I didn't make myself clear before.

    Posted 2 hours, 55 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ [m]
    Inspired: ↓ [m]
  20. Roger:

    I've never used a blog calendar and I've never had one on my own site. Most of the time a calendar just adds clutter to the page.

    Posted 2 hours, 55 minutes after the fact
  21. Ste:

    I never use the calendar-based archive navigation so prevalent on MT blogs, but I do think it's sometimes useful for organizing month-specific archive page. I also (for a few months) maintained an "events calendar" on my site but found that I didn't really have enough events to populate it. :)

    Posted 2 hours, 58 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  22. Jon Gales:

    I've never used it... I follow via RSS and just read when you update. The only sites I'd use a calendar on are the ones that update a ton and don't offer an RSS feed. I'd check every few days and just read day-by-day. Otherwise, it's deadwood.

    Posted 3 hours, 6 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Scrivs, ↑ Stuart
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  23. Sian:

    Perhaps add the calender to the Archives page as it's an alternative method to displaying previous posts? personally I think the way you have laid out your archives section negates the need for a calender and to a certain extent the search facility.

    Posted 3 hours, 8 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Sian, ↑ Dunstan
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  24. Dunstan:

    Thanks Jon - it's nice to know (or be reminded, I should say) that some people fly in and fly out again.

    Posted 3 hours, 11 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Jon Gales
  25. Phillip Harrington:

    I am anti-calendar... :-)

    Posted 3 hours, 22 minutes after the fact
  26. Dris:

    Hmm... Well, I haven't thought this through, so I'm likely to get hurt, but here goes...

    If the calendar method of organizing your posts is useless, wouldn't the permalinks (which are based on the post date) be equally useless? Of course, people can still copy the link and all, but the information contained in the URL is the same as that which would be in the calendar.

    So, if you'd be going to a straight linear archival, it would make sense that your permalinks would be based on entry ID, or something similar.

    I do find calendars useful when going back through posts. The question that should be asked is, "How often do you browse though my old posts?", but I'm sure you wouldn't consider getting rid of them (the posts)!

    One more thing: calendars are a heck of a lot better than a list of Month Year links. The majority of people in the world are graphical learners, and a calendar just makes it easier to glance and orient oneself. It's more stationary. That was slightly off topic, so it's time to end this post.

    Posted 5 hours, 36 minutes after the fact
  27. .csant:

    never used it on any site - was just wondering myself if i should build one on my site, as everybody seems to have one... but decided it is not really necessary.

    Posted 5 hours, 44 minutes after the fact
  28. Jon Hicks:

    Wierd, I never use it...

    ...but I really like the they way they look. Not reason enough to keep it I know...

    Posted 6 hours, 29 minutes after the fact
  29. Egor Kloos:

    Well I'm no fan of calendars myself. But as I decided not to add an archive section having it there has proved useful. In fact it is used more often than I though it would be and therefor I see no reason to remove it. By the time I restyle the site (each summer) I may discard the calendar. But for now it's staying. Having an extra ability to find the content you're looking for is an unspoken comfort even if users don't use it. Pure for navigation reasons I wouldn't recommend it, because the use of a calendar is geared to a specific purpose, finding posted content within a specific time frame. It also shows posting density, this could hurt you if you post once a blue moon and if you post everyday then there is no distinction that could be discerned because all the dates would be lit up.

    It's good to see many wondering about it's usefulness. It works for me but I can imagine that it wouldn't work for others.

    Posted 6 hours, 48 minutes after the fact
  30. Adam Bramwell:

    Removing the calendar is one of the first things I do when setting up new MT templates. Using the calendar has got to me the most inefficient way to browse a site, it's a case of an 'unfounded design default' alright!

    Posted 7 hours, 33 minutes after the fact
  31. Aaron Schaap:

    I don't think a calendar on each entry/article is a good idea but putting in on an archive page has proven very helpful for newspapers. Sometimes it helps people hunt down old, but helpful posts that are lost in the archives.

    I'd say - "Take them out of the entries template and pop it into the archive index"

    Posted 8 hours, 8 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  32. Matt:

    Love and respect them.

    Posted 8 hours, 30 minutes after the fact
  33. [m]:

    Thought of something good to say, and you've got a perfectly viable anwser to fight back with. Meh. :D

    Anyway, I like the idea of moving the calendar to the archive section. I think that the calendar is mostly used when someone wants to dig up some stingy smelling entry. A calendar helps a bunch if you're hunting down that precious link posted on some idle friday in September.

    Posted 8 hours, 38 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  34. Boris Anthony:

    Well... the calendar in the sidebar is the first thing I chop out of every blog template I work on (and man oh man have I done a few...)...

    Also, it assumes you are doing Daily Archives, doesn't it? That's something I've never even turned on... Individual, Monthly, Category: all you need really, IMHO. ;)

    Posted 8 hours, 46 minutes after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Dunstan
  35. Jack:

    one real i have found for the calendar is just to know at a glance how often someone updates. it's nice to get a visual indicator of how often i should return to a site (assuming that it's worth reading).

    but it just doesn't cut it as a form of archive navigation. the dates are just too meaningless to people.

    Posted 9 hours, 32 minutes after the fact
  36. Colin D. Devroe:

    Perhaps the question we should be asking is "How can we make the Calendars more useful?" ?

    I personally like the calendar function, and use it occassionally. But I could definately see that they could use some revision, just to make a way to make them a little more useful.

    Posted 11 hours, 5 minutes after the fact
  37. Derek Martin:

    Someone actually emailed me to request that I put a calendar on my blog. So, apparently there is some demand.

    Posted 16 hours, 17 minutes after the fact
  38. Dunstan:

    I think that adding the calendar to the archive page wouldn't really be of much use - it only shows the distribution of posts for one month, and that information is much more readily obtained by simply glancing at the list of entries displayed in the archive page - that's what the archive page is for.

    The calendar currently only appears on month-specific pages, so month, day, or post pages. Why? Well, frankly it's the only place it's of any use - it's providing information on posts made within the month that the user is currently browsing. If you're at a higher level than months (so in years, or just the archive) then you're looking at a whole different set of data.

    And as for the calendar being applicable only for day-based blogs, well yes, that's true, and that's what this is - all the posts have dates associated with them, and so can be (and are) broken down into days. It's just another way of presenting info to people, and requires very little effort on my part.

    I think, reflecting on my earlier reflection, that I may well keep the calendar for now. I'll try and implement some kind of JS-based system whereby I can record the clickthroughs from it, and next time space becomes an issue in that sidebar, I can review just how often the thing is used.

    I think that might be a satisfactory solution.

    Posted 17 hours, 8 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Ste, ↑ Sian, ↑ Aaron Schaap, ↑ [m], ↑ Boris Anthony
    Inspired: ↓ Nicole
  39. Nicole:

    Well, I continue to be impressed by the amount of thought you put into this. I would have probably just axed it ten minutes after posing the question. I tend to be a bit brash sometimes.

    However, I applaud your ambition to actually record click-throughs as a gauge of its usefulness. That is quite a thoughtful answer to a thoughtful question.

    Posted 22 hours, 10 minutes after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Dunstan
  40. Kevin McDonagh:

    Totally, you go that extra mile Dunstan. Strange how so many people felt compelled to talk abot the calendar though.

    Posted 1 day, 6 hours after the fact
  41. Scott Johnson:

    I have a sidebar on my current design, but the design that I'm working on doesn't. I don't find them to be very useful. Yours looks great, but I've never actually used it.

    Posted 1 day, 8 hours after the fact
    Inspired: ↓ Scott Johnson
  42. Scott Johnson:

    Err, by sidebar I meant "calendar in my sidebar". Fat thumb day is here! ;-)

    Posted 1 day, 8 hours after the fact
    Inspired by: ↑ Scott Johnson
  43. Jenne:

    I never used any of these calenders. If you would kill it - it'll do no harm to me.

    Posted 1 day, 19 hours after the fact
  44. Christian:

    Well, I just came to this post using that "damn thing"... ;)
    But I'd say it's a matter of taste...

    Posted 1 day, 23 hours after the fact
  45. Aaron S.:

    I like the diveintomark style calendar--where you can see titles, not just dates. Have never used the type of calendar you have now, in design or in reading. (Slightly off-topic, but I did adapt a calendar for my daily photolog,, and I find that to be a useful application of the format.)

    Posted 5 days, 23 hours after the fact
  46. Raphael:


    I've just released a plugin for wordpress.
    It's a timeline.
    I think it could be an alternative to Calendars.

    The post of the release :

    Posted 2 years after the fact

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