The electronic personal calendar on a PDA is designed with the conceptual model of an organizer or a planner. Both the electronic personal calendar and the physical organizer are used for noting down appointments and reminders to enable a person to remember important events or activities. Just like the physical organizer, the electronic calendar allows the user to indicate the date, time, and nature of an event. The user is also able to enter notes about the event or activity just as they would on the physical organizer. This information on events and activities is also sorted by date, that is, every date in the organizer is allocated one page or at least a certain portion of a page. This is similar to the way an electronic calendar works where events and activities are also sorted or grouped by date. In addition, someone using a physical planner can easily go to a particular date and view the activities for that date through the tab labels. Similarly, a PDA user can easily go to a particular date through the graphical user interface.
The new features that the electronic calendar has that the physical artifact does not have include the capability for the user to sort through events on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis in an automated way (“Calendarscope,” 2012). It is also possible to set up appointments for single or recurring events where an alarm can be set up to signal the occurrence of the event or that the time has come for the event to take place. In addition, the electronic calendar makes it possible for the user to attach a status to an event to indicate whether the event has been completed, is ongoing, or is overdue. It is also possible to color code the event for the user to easily make distinctions among the different events and be able to easily identify similar or related events.
Unlike the physical organizer or planner whose appearance cannot be changed, it is possible to change the appearance of the electronic calendar by way of changing the skin, the sounds, the font types, font colors, and font sizes. In addition, the electronic calendar allows the user to insert web URLs and e-mail addresses into their calendar notes.
The interface metaphors used were those of a calendar, a physical organizer or planner, and an email calendar.
Even before the advent of computers and mobile devices, people have been using calendars to keep track of the date. People also marked important days on the calendar by crossing out a particular date or by writing on the borders of the calendar. This metaphor makes it easy for PDA users to immediately identify what the PDA’s Calendar feature is for, that is, for determining the current date and for remembering or keeping track of important events.
Then came the planner, which pretty much resembles the calendar except that it now contains space – in the form of pages – that a person can use to write down more notes. It may also have sections for addresses, phone numbers, and others, which the conventional calendar does not accommodate. By reflecting the purpose and use of a planner, it becomes easier for PDA users to learn and understand the features and uses of the PDA’s calendar, that is, for noting down important events and adding some important information about these events.
As for the PDA calendar’s user interface, the metaphor of email calendars is used. An email calendar such as the one on Microsoft Outlook has fields for the Subject, Location, Date, Time, and a space for entering notes. In addition, email calendars allow for the sorting of dates and have options to indicate recurring or one-time events. These are UI elements that are mimicked in the PDA calendar. Since it can be assumed that most, if not all, PDA users would be Internet savvy, presenting them with an interface that’s similar to the interface of email calendars, which they use everyday, would make it easy for them to learn to use the PDA calendar’s interface.
Calendarscope. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.calendarscope.com/
Rogers, Y., Sharp, H., & Preece, J. (2007). Interaction design: Beyond human-computer
interaction (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons