Reservation Form: miss-leading error messages

Hi.

I discovered the following (strange) behavior:

Reservation A is from 10:00 to 11:30. Now I want to make another reservation B on the exact same date starting directly after the Reservation A. So I select the orange field in the calendar and click a second time on the next hour rectangle. Now here is the response:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18607042/easyreservation_hourly-calendar-availability-error.png
“Not available at […] 11:00”
Now this is confusing for the user since it does not tell until when it’s already booked. The message should be the exact time interval: “Not available from […] 10:00 to […] 11:30”, indicating the reservation with with reservation B is overlapping (thus A).
As it is now, the user has to try each minute out to figure out until when exactly reservation A is lasting. This is no viable solution.

The error messages have to be more precise!

Besides, the following feature implemented in the overview.php would be of great help:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18607042/easyreservation-overview.png
The tooltip popup shows the name of the user as well as the start and end of the reservation. In case there is only one item of a particular resource, it would be very useful if the calendar would have the option to show this additional booking information in the tooltip.
If there are several resources, instead of the existing reservation, it could show the remaining availabilities (exact time, which is not visible by the hourly scale of the calendar).

Regards,

The problem there is that the script doesn’t know how long it’ll be occupied. It just checks how many reservations there are at 11:00 and get’s a plain number back. Everything else I tried took to much time as it either needs to many or long database queries and/or to go through each reservation to find out when it’s free again. This way its accurate while still usable. Maybe some time another user or me comes up with a good idea, but right now I have to say that’s it.
For the suggestion I have to say it’s a bit to special. I mean you can click one time and it shows the information in the table. It’s not really worth the working time to add more informations if only one reservation is shorter as the overviews interval.
Sorry for the not very helpful answer.
Regards

I mean you can click one time and it shows the information in the table

I don’t get what you are referring to. All I see are colors in the calendar. When I select the interval, it’s updated in the form. But I really don’t understand what you mean by table…

The table of all reservations in the middle of the dashboard. It should show all reservations of that day and resource when you click on it in the overview.
Regards

ok. but the overview is not what the users see when making a reservation.
That’s what you see…
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18607042/easyreservation_calendar-usability_1.png
That’s what happens after selecting the slot:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18607042/easyreservation_calendar-usability_2.png
but the reservation goes until 14:20. So how should a user that wants to book right after the last reservation from what time the resource is available?
So the user tries a later start time and might end up with this:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18607042/easyreservation_calendar-usability_3.png
But the error message still says: “Not available at 05.08.2013 14:00”
Even though true, it is non-sense, because it should say “Not available at 05.08.2013 14:08”, or even better “Not available UNTIL 05.08.2013 14:20”
Otherwise the user gets confused and has to keep trying…

Either the error message needs to be corrected, or the user has to have the possibility to see the exact time of the bookings with a mouse over.
Thus, my request is not “a bit too special”. I am pointing out that some users might get really confused and upset with the way this is currently working. In my opinion your current compromise (speed, info detail) is not accurate and barely usable.

I absolutely see the problem if there are several resources of the same type you end up making several queries and you’ll have to compare them etc. This of course will slow down things.
But if the display of more reservation details in the hourly calendar is optional with a remark that it might slow down things, this would be a viable solution.
Another possibility would be to add an availability table to the db, that holds the overall resource availability and is updated after each reservation. This way only one query has to be made no matter how many resources.

What I admit is a bit special is the request to see the user names of existing reservations. But since our resources are microscopes of a facility, researchers might want to contact other users to swap slots, etc.
I really hope I can convince you to add this option. Before our users had a yahoo-group with a calendar, and there they could see who is up when and the discussions between users really increased the usage-efficiency of the microscope. Even tough the easyreservation plugin is fancy (especially from an admin point of view) our users will criticize the lack of information on the calendar.
As I gather from the examples and the other forum entries, this plugin is widely used by hotels. But it really would be great if the plugin would allow transparency on the user side.

Thanks for your consideration.

With the “bit to special” I meant to expand the tooltip in the overview. It was the answer to the second part of your first post.

You’re problem is of course valid and I understood it. But as I said it has technical reasons. Of course there are ways to improve it and optionality would be a solution to the slowdowns that come with it. But right now every solution I come up with is the complete opposite of how the check does it now. That means one or two days of work for an option that got requested once. I have it on my list now and if I find a suitable way to integrate it I’ll. But I don’t think that’ll be fast enough for you.
Regards

I think there was a misunderstanding. What I meant with the tooltip is to just have some additional information (like start and end-time and maybe the user name). This is pretty much what has been done in the overview of the dashboard. So I took it as an example that could be applied to the hourly calendar. It would be nice to have the tooltip there too when hovering with the mouse over a rectangle of the calendar on a page or post.

Oh, that’s what you mean. But it’s again the problem that no informations of the reservations get requested from the database there. It uses the same function as the calendar or overview to get a plain number for the hour. It doesn’t know more.
Regards

Any news on the meaningfulness of the error messages?

I was thinking another way to solve the problem would be:
If I click in an orange field (where part of the hour is reserved), instead of showing a message, just put the earliest available time in the from. In terms of usability it would be nice.

regards

No, and again the problem is that it doesn’t know when it’ll be free.
Regards

I got that. But I won’t drop it 🙂

Couldn’t the HoverEffect in the overview.php be used to display time and user name as a tooltip when hovering over a particular square of the calendar?

Or what about a javascript with a ajax request that dynamically loads this information?

For the first it is again the same problem of it not having these data and not knowing which is the last.
And I wouldn’t use a ajax request in an ajax request just for this simple function. Wouldn’t feel good and requires a lot of work.
Regards

I did not fully understand your code of course so I am making informed guesses…
But in terms of speed… the overview.php on the admin dashboard has the information and still loads in a reasonable time. What speaks against re-using the code from there?

The overview shows every unit of the resource while the calendar shows a summary of all. The same counts for the queries. The code for what you suggest would be a totally different.
Regards

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