Goodbye, Calvetica

Well, as you might have predicted from this post, I’ve taken Calvetica off my home screen and returned the builtin Calendar to that place of honor. There are, as I said (and as many, many people have said), some very nice features in Calvetica, but those features are mainly geared toward making appointments, not viewing them. I spend much more time on my phone viewing appointments, and the builtin Calendar is more efficient at that task.

There was one other thing about Calvetica I didn’t like, although I didn’t mention it in my earlier post: the weekly view is laid out the wrong way.

Calvetica weekly view

Two-column weekly calendars are laid out column-by-column—the way a newspaper or magazine is read—not row-by-row.

Dayminder weekly calendar

There’s nothing inherently wrong with going row-by-row, but conventions should be adhered to unless there’s a very good reason to break them. My favorite example is the brake and gas pedal layout in a car. That the brake is to the left of the gas is merely a convention, but it’s a convention a car maker would be an idiot to break.

One more thing: Weekly calendars should start on Monday, not Sunday, so you can see both days of a given weekend in a single view. Paper calendar makers have always known this. I don’t understand why electronic calendar makers—and iCal and BusyCal are just as guilty as Calvetica in this regard—can’t figure it out.

I’m not suggesting a slavish devotion to all the conventions of paper. The complaints about the upcoming design of iCal in Lion seem spot-on to me. But that doesn’t mean everything that paper calendar makers do is wrong.1 Paper calendars have been around a lot longer than electronic ones; throwing out everything their designers have learned about how people use them is just as wrong as cluttering up the screen with pictures of torn paper.

  1. Ben Brooks goes too far (for effect, I think) when he says “Don’t Mimic Real-World Interfaces.” Well done real world interfaces have a lot of careful thought behind them. The trick is to figure out which parts will translate well to the computer and which parts are simply baggage.