WordPress time zone selection

I use WordPress.com to host my blog. It saves me a whole lot of technical headache and in return I give up a little bit of extra control.

WordPress recently added a feature to set your timezone to a nearby city, freeing you from the pesky task of manually changing your time zone every time DST changes. Great idea technically…

It looks promising, right?

Uh oh. Let’s see if I can find United States.

Hmmmmm… OK, it’s organized just by continents. Let’s scroll down a few more pages.

I think there’s a rule written somewhere (if not, then now it is): “Any time a user need to choose from a list of over 500 items, you need to have a better user interface than a dropdown menu.” Compare that interface to Mac OS X:

Three things:

  1. Your Mac can try to guess based on environment information, probably things such as the network you are connected to. WordPress could easily try to do this with a reverse IP lookup when the user clicks a button “Try to guess my timezone” or something similar.
  2. However if that fails, or if the user wants to choose a different time zone, they could click on the map. Most people don’t care if they try to click on Washington, D.C. and accidentally get New York or Columbus. They are in the same time zone, and that is unlikely to change any time soon.
  3. If for some reason you can’t click on your timezone, or you are obsessive like me and have to select the exact city, then you can try the dropdown. Not ideal, but it works.

WordPress should consider something similar – or at least, something better than what they have now!