How many times have you had to select or enter your date of birth on a website in your life?
I bet hundreds, probably thousands of times.
It’s a very basic function, which is generally proposed with a basic calendar interface, in which you select the day, month, and year of birth (in Europe, that’s the logic) – or the month, day and year of birth (in the US, the logic is different).
I would have never, ever in my life, imagined that such a basic, standard, and common concept as DD, MM, YYYY, would have been inverted.
Ryanair, in fact, when you check in online, will ask you to select your date of birth by first selecting a year, then a month, and then a day.
In Usability, there’s a rule. It’s a simple rule. It says: “don’t make the user think”.
“If we find something that works, we stick to it. Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.”
Which means just one thing: do not put unnecessary effort on the customer. If since forever, the logic behind selecting a date has always been DD, MM, YYYY – or MM, DD, YYYY, depending on which part of the world you live in – then why change it?
If there’s a good reason behind this decision, I’d be happy to know it!