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Response to [Electronic Calendars… ] by Kincaid et al.


This paper conducted a study of how office workers use paper and electronic calendars (integrated in office systems). By learning the general behavior of their calendar usage, they elicited requirements for using both kinds of calendar, problems found in the existing calendars as well as the expectations in accordance.


General requirements and usage patterns in using paper calendar:

  • “The most popular formats are ‘day at a glance’ followed by ‘week at a glance’.”
  • The most common usages: 1) recording meetings, appointments, events, etc.; 2) reminders and notes; 3) “ticklers”; 4) “to do” list.
  • “Those without support staff found scheduling meetings bothersome because of the problems in reaching other participants.”
  • “Direct access to another person’s calendar generally occurs between managers and secretaries. Managers seldom examine each other’s calendars.”
  • “Half of the respondents felt they would like their calendars to be more accessible to others. This access would be limited to small groups, such as ‘my staff’, ‘my boss’…”


This paper was published in 1985. So the timeliness of the study is questionable, if seen from today. However, the part that focuses on using paper calender remain valuable as it captures people’s primitive motivation to bring up the concept of ‘calendar’. And note that not all the problems raised in the paper have been solved so far. For example, scheduling is still quite a hassle today.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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