Windows 8 calendar technical test: Bugs and issues

1. February 2014

We tested a German version of the WIndows 8 calendar app under a German Windows 8.1. The English terms in brackets after the German terms may not always be the precise English equivalent found in the English version of the calendar app. Bugs and issues noted apply to this German version. We are unable to establish whether these equally apply to the English version (comments are welcome).

This is a part of our comparative test of tablets for blind users. An introduction is provided in Tablet test with blind users: Overview.

The Windows 8 calendar is the only calendar that has both working week and week views. No Year view. The Agenda view is somewhat inappropriately called “What’s next”. It is by far the most buggy of all calendars.

What users need to know to use calendar is that swiping from top or bottom is necessary to bring up menu bars with controls (such as the Whats’s next, Day, Working Week, Week, Month views in a top menu, Synchronize, Background, New in the bottom menu). These menus are not displayed when the screen for creating a new entry is shown.

Legend for bugs / issues:

  • (MB) / (MI): minor bug / minor issue
  • (SB) / (SI): significant bug or issue
  • (CB) / (CI): critical bug / critical  issue

Note: This report of bugs and issues cannot claim to be comprehensive. Whether something is registered as issue or as bug and wether the issue/bug is minor, significant or critical has been determined by personal judgement; others may draw the line differently.

Navigation elements

  • (MI) Unusual layout with navigation elements appearing top and bottom when swiping from the top or bottom edge (Less of a problem for users familiar with this interaction model).
  • (MI) Weird focus order in inserted menu bars: first bottom bar left to right then top bar left to right
  • (MI) No feedback when selecting "Synchronisieren" (Synchronize) - why show this element when synchronizing happens automatically anyway?
  • (MI) When selecting "Hintergrund" (Background), a pop-up appears ( "Standard verwenden / Durchsuchen" (Use standard / Search). Swiping beyond these focuses the calendar, i.e. it leaves the menu bar with its contextual pop-up still in place.

Month view

  • (SB) Days in month grid cannot be activated by touch-explore (unless they have events, which respond to touch-explore. Activating days by swiping is not reliable and depends on calendar states. To ensure that days are read it may be necessary to insert and then hide the marginal menu bars, or to select the Weeks view and returning to Months view. This resets to activating days when swiping through the month grid (defaulting to current day) so the user can then swipe forwards and backwards to next and previous day.
  • (SB) No obvious way to change between running through entered events, and running through days
  • (MB) In the month grid “Weitere Befehle anzeigen” (show additional commands) after running through days does nothing, focuses Close (which was focused before; swiping backward beyond that moves focus into calendar grid without closing the insert menus.

Week view

  • (MI) Swiping does not move to adjacent days beyond current week. Selecting of next day (by swiping to it, then double-tapping) will not set it as current day.

Day view

  • (SB) No way to speak hours in touch-explore or swiping. No way to create entry by double-tapping.
  • (MI) Swiping does not move to adjacent days beyond current day and next day. Selecting of next day (by swiping to it, then double-tapping) will not set it as current day.
  • (MI) Control on current day heading opens month calendar grid in a pop-up with selection of days (same as in screen for creating entries). There is no way to move to the next week directly – but the pop-up will allow selection of another day here and show the corresponding week when closing the pop-up. No way however to cross the month boundary in this pop-up.
  • (MI) Day view just shows "Heute" (today) and "Morgen" (tomorrow), no navigation beyond these. Control on "Heute" (today) and "Morgen" (tomorrow) opens same month calendar grid in pop-up with a selection of days which will return to the selected day in the day view.

New entry

  • (MI) Labelling of important control: “Neu” (New) is a bit meager for the function new calendar entry – see iPad’s equally meager "add" control
  • (MI) When opening a new entry, the focus is on "Betreff" (topic) which is fine – but the element is not anywhere near the beginning of focusable elements. It comes after "Wann" (when), "Start, Dauer" (duration), "Ort" (location), "Mehr anzeigen" (show more options), so adding details (like time of day, duration) means having to swipe back to set them.
  • (MI) "Wann" (when, date selection): Smallish square pop-up. Risk of loss of focus when not being very careful in touch interaction. Swiping to previous and next days and touch-explore works.
  • (MB) Start: Labelling incomplete. Narrator says “11” (nicht “11 hours”) and 30 (nicht „30 minutes“)
  • (MI) Virtual keyboard: Activating the Enter key after text input in fields like "Ort" (location) does not do anything, it does not close virtual keyboard; moving on with swiping, the virtual keyboard remains visible.
  • (SI) Virtual keyboard: Hiding the virtual keyboard manually is quite complex. The keyboard key in the lower right corner brings up the pop-up "Layout: Tastatur ausblenden" (layout: hide keyboard). Swiping moves the focus within calendar entry elements (or says "no next element") which means that the additional controls shown in the pop-up on top of the keyboard button are not easily reached via swiping. The easiest is to move up from the corner (via touch-explore) to focus the "Ausblenden" (hide) button but the location of this button is far from obvious. Swiping will only work when the focus is set again on the keyboard button with touch-explore after opening the pop-up; only then will swiping back reach the actual "Ausblenden" (hide) button and the other buttons – physical keyboard, handwriting input, thumb keyboard and virtual keyboard
  • (MB) Virtual keyboard: When activating the "Ausblenden" (hide) button, a phantom focus remains and the focus cannot be moved anymore by swiping – touch-explore is necessary to set the focus elsewhere
  • (MB) When the virtual keyboard has been closed via the "Ausblenden" (hide) button, double-tapping on fields like "Ort" (location) may sometimes not open the virtual keyboard
  • (MB) When the "Betreff" (topic) field already has an entry, reaching it after focusing elsewhere will just announce this important field as "leere Zeile – <bereits eingegebener Inhalt> - bearbeiten" (empty line - <content previously entered> edit)
  • (SB) Buggy focus management: when swiping from"Mehr anzeigen" (show more) to "Betreff" (topic), the "Änderungen speichern" (save changes) button is skipped: the focus flashes there for the fraction of a second. It then automatically moves to the "Löschen" (delete) button, but does not announce löschen (delete) but just "Schaltfläche" (button). In other cases (call up of an entry from the agenda, here called what’s next) save and delete receive visual focus in correct order but Narrator is silent. This does not always happen – it is unclear under which conditions focus management and output is correct or faulty
  • (MI) Incomplete dialog options. Activating calls up the pop-up "Sie sind gerade dabei, “<text von Betreff>” zu löschen" (you are about to delete <Topic text>), and a "Löschen" (delete) button is the only button to choose: there is no Abbrechen (Cancel) button. Focusing elsewhere brings up a (non-visible) menu element Schießen (close) which dismisses the pop-up

What’s next / Als Nächstes

Shows horizontal row of events on a photo background, a design which differs strongly from the rest of the grid views.

  • (MI) Focusing days could bring up day view to add entry, instead the output is "Der Text kann nicht ausgewählt werden" (the text cannot be selected)
  • (MI) Last element in the row of events a month ahead (not the next but next plus one) with a link shows "Weitere Ereignisse anzeigen" (show more events) even though there are no events set for this month