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I have a button in an app that allows a user to enter a fixed period, i.e. they specify the start and end date and it always stays the same. I have another button that allows them to enter an offset/delay and a length/duration of time that "stays current" but I can't think of a single word that would fit on my button that would describe this.

For example, let's say I select this "stays recent" button and specify a delay of 3 months and a duration of 12 months, that means if I were to look at the data in June 2014, it would show data from March 2013 to March 2014 (12 months, from 3 months back). Then if I were to go and look at the data in October 2014, it would show data from July 2013 to July 2014.

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    I realize your problem might not necessarily be finding the right word but clarifying the concept of such flexible timespan to the user. There might be other, non-word-related methods to achieve this and I suggest asking about that on ux.stackexchange.com if this thread offers no valid solution. – npst Nov 18 '14 at 13:14
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    Is it a rolling date range? – Alo Nov 18 '14 at 14:13
  • @Alo I offered rolling to my manager before asking this question on here but unfortunately, he thinks that it might be a little ambiguous with something else in the app that is considered "rolling" (in my opinion though it is still the best word to describe it) – Anupheaus Nov 19 '14 at 10:53
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I see quite a few options similar to this while doing analytics on software usage. There are a couple common phrases related to the concept but most of them bank on words from two categories.

The first is the "relative" descriptor:

  • rolling
  • moving
  • sliding
  • most recent
  • relative

The second is the "timeframe" descriptor:

  • timeframe
  • snapshot
  • glimpse
  • window
  • range

Common phrases, then:

  • rolling window
  • moving window
  • relative timeframe
  • most recent snapshot

The other pattern I see frequently is to use "last" or "past" and the specific range set. This is best when the "right side" of the range is anchored to "now":

  • last 30 days
  • past 30 days
  • most recent 30 days

If the right side is also configurable, you can use "ago" or its synonyms:

  • 30-60 days ago
  • previous 1-2 weeks

For example, let's say I select this "stays recent" button and specify a delay of 3 months and a duration of 12 months, that means if I were to look at the data in June 2014, it would show data from March 2013 to March 2014 (12 months, from 3 months back). Then if I were to go and look at the data in October 2014, it would show data from July 2013 to July 2014.

To specifically answer your question, I would use something like "moving snapshot" with "starting date" and "delay" and "duration" as your three fields. When displaying the full graph, I would label it with the specific dates in the snapshot.

  • Very impressive answer, I think there are a number of ideas I can use in this post - thank you. I very much like "snapshot" think that may be the answer, I'll put it to my manager and see what he thinks. – Anupheaus Mar 25 '15 at 11:46
  • Glad to help! If you have followup questions just ask. :) – MrHen Mar 25 '15 at 21:28
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Not knowing what your choice for the first, fixed option is, I suggest adding dynamic or flexible for the second option.

While this doesn't exactly specify how the second option works, both words tell the user that the content shown will adapt and change.

  • Sorry, the first option is simply "Fixed" but with @DanielLee's suggestion, I could change it to "Fixed Window" or "Fixed Range" or "Fixed Timeframe", etc. – Anupheaus Nov 19 '14 at 10:42
  • I think both dynamic and flexible are words that might be too easily misunderstood and it gives the impression (at least to me) of a dynamic or flexible range of time, i.e. that the duration changes rather than the start and end points, which is not what this is supposed to do. I know that in the context of what the app offers, a dynamic or flexible duration of time would be impractical and useless, but the questions I hear from users never cease to surprise me and I'd rather not leave myself open to them unless I have to. – Anupheaus Nov 19 '14 at 10:49
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As a noun (often but not necessarily in the plural), an antecedent to an event (or time) is...

A thing that existed before or logically precedes another

The same word can be used adjectivally (in OP's case, antecedent data). Contextually it's quite possible at least some of those earlier records are about things which caused (or otherwise "logically preceded") something of interest to the user. Possibly he specifically selected the date of that interesting event in order to see what led up to it.

But since OP's app probably has no way of knowing which if any preceding events have a causal (as opposed to merely temporal, earlier in time) relationship with the "reference" date (or what happened on that date), it's potentially useful that antecedent covers both senses anyway.

  • Thanks but antecedent doesn't sound like it stays recent, I could more simply use the term "historical" and it would also probably be understood by more people as well. The crux of the issue is getting a word that means "a fixed period of the past that stays relative to the current", and I don't think antecedent does all of that job. – Anupheaus Nov 19 '14 at 10:34
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I would use the word you used in your question

Recent

adjective

Having happened, begun, or been done not long ago or not long before; belonging to a past period of time comparatively close to the present:

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I may have misunderstood your use case, but aren't you describing set interval? An interval is a period of time that remains the same length, regardless of when it starts.

  • Well, yes technically that is true, however, I think most people see interval as a time between things that occur frequently, rather than one instance of it. Maybe i'm wrong but if someone said that a light had an interval of 2 days I'd lean towards thinking that the light would flash every 2 days rather than the light would be on for two days only? I'm open to debate on this though. – Anupheaus Mar 25 '15 at 11:45
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"Moving Window" is the term I've heard used and would use myself.

  • I like this idea, but I think the words are not quite right, being an app there might be some ambiguity with the app dialog window. From your suggestion though I'm actually now thinking something like "Moving Range" or "Trailing Range" or "Trailing Timeframe"...maybe this could spur some more ideas? – Anupheaus Nov 19 '14 at 10:40

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