Army time has its execs, however Android has at all times had a con to the expertise

As somebody who was born and raised within the good ol’ United States of America, I really like utilizing 24-hour time. It is a lengthy story, however to the purpose of the one at hand, I discover it barely upsetting that many an Android cellphone will not show the AM or PM signifier except you dig in a bit — that type of fussiness defeats the entire level of glanceable data you may get from, say, a very good good clock. In any case, for the longest time, 24-hour clock customers on Android have needed to cope with a considerably inconvenient interface in setting instances for calendar occasions, appointments, and such. However due to some Google’s Materials Design researchers, that interface is due a makeover quickly.


Up till not too long ago, when setting time in 24-hour readout, customers would wish to pick out the hour from a two-ring analog clockface with hours 1 via 12 on the outer ring and 13 via 24 on the interior. As soon as customers choose the hour, the interface advances to the minutes setting. These with bigger fingers, although, may have recognized the frustration of touching the flawed hour as a result of the targets, particularly on the interior ring, have been simply too shut collectively — they’d should faucet again to the hour area after which reselect the hour they really needed to place in.


Android has offered this interface in some kind or one other for a few years. We truly noticed an instance from 2013 by way of the outdated Google Working System weblog that inverted the positioning of the hour rings.


The Materials Design group tried to deal with the accessibility challenge of the 24-hour two-ring clockface in 2020 by debuting a one-ring clockface displaying solely the even-numbered hours between 2 and 24. This was a part of a wider redesign of the time -picking UIs and whereas the remainder of the set caught round, 24-hour clock customers demanded the outdated two-ring clockface again — apparently, they weren’t too happy with having to deduce the position of the odd hours.

Researchers determined to dig their heels into the difficulty with a radical although restricted examine, placing 50 folks via time-setting exams utilizing a wide range of totally different clockface-based designs —out of fifty unique drafts, 4 made it to the candidate stage — adopted by surveys.


The conclusion the group got here to was that no 24-hour clockface design was intuitive sufficient for customers to precisely and reliably set the time with. Contemplating the rarity of such design on bodily clocks, this actually should not have been stunning.

So, the Materials Design group has moved to make a digital enter possibility the brand new default — it was launched with the Materials Design time picker refresh in 2020 and customers can faucet a keyboard button on the clockface immediate field to get to it if it isn’t already a default. The digital enter will dwell alongside the prevailing analog clockface for 24-hour customers. Because the group gathers information about person conduct, the corporate might determine to default time settings to digital enter.

It stays to be seen if there is a future with out the 24-hour clockface on Android, however I, in my contrarianism, additionally would not stand to look at analog clockfaces disappear, so… there’s that.

UPDATE: 12/2022/04 19:24 EST BY JULES WANG


An earlier model of this story implied that the digital enter possibility was launched not too long ago when it was truly introduced on in the course of the 2020 refresh. We remorse the error.