Rant: Calendars

Most calendars made in the US use five lines for dates. Most months run 30-31 days. That works fine when the month begins on a Sunday through Thursday. But when a month begins on a Friday or a Saturday, as this month does, American calendars do something that I can only describe as brain-dead: they double-up on the last one or two dates of the month.

Take a look at this month’s calendar (January 2011). What are they thinking? That we work only half days on Sunday and Monday? Or that we need half as much space on those days to write in events and appointments?

Take another look at this month’s calendar. The solution is staring you in the face: there is almost an entire empty line on the first row of the calendar. For this month’s calendar (January 2011), why not put the 30th and the 31st on the first line? The space is there and it requires a minimum of effort to remember to lift your eyes a few lines to find the end of the month.

I’ve seen this obvious solution on British calendars. There’s no need to add a line when the space was there all along. Why double-up, or crowd the last two full days of the month into half the space, when the space is available? Do US calendar makers think it’s a slippery slope: if they start using their heads on calendar layouts they’ll end up using the metric system?

I’m sure we can continue to be pig-headed about that!

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John Mill

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