Time zones and usability

Every so often I’ll stumble across a website that is referring to an event I’m interested in that occurs in the local time, and I’ll have to go through an annoying scramble to work out exactly what time zone they are in, what time zone I am in, and figure out the difference.

Kudos to http://www.funtrivia.com, whose website happened to be undergoing maintenance when I tried to visit them. They very kindly told me not only the start and end time of the maintenance but also the current time in their time zone:

Simple Usability improvement

They could have just shown the scheduled start and end times in CST, which would be mildly frustrating to users. They could have attempted to calculate the user’s time zone, but that would be complex, prone to error, and would have required additional development and testing (and thus cost). They’ve come up with a great balance.

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