So I was registering to do my March Madness bracket on ESPN (not that I know anything about college basketball – I just randomly picked teams), and it asked me for a password. Now, the good side of this is that it did inline validation to make sure I was entering valid data. The bad side is that I got this: At first glance everything appears ok – there’s a   Read More ...

Lots of people tab through forms. It’s faster than using the mouse to move between fields and form filler-outterers often get in a groove, especially for common forms like an address. So when you change that order, it’s annoying. We recently moved, so I had to update my address in a lot of places. One of those places was my cell phone provider, Fido. First of all, the fields are   Read More ...

Putting the label for a field inside the field itself seems like a good idea – it doesn’t take up any extra space on the page and there’s no question about which field a label is associated with. BUT. If you’re going to do this, you need to make sure that the label is still visible until the person filling out the form starts to type. If this form from   Read More ...

I was trying to connect with a new colleague on LinkedIn. They know who I am, I know who they are, so I didn’t feel the need to include a “personal note”. Handily, LinkedIn makes including a personal note optional – see the little grey “(optional)” beside the field label? This is the right way to do it, too. Rather than marking required fields, mark optional ones. So I left   Read More ...

That’s a lot of columns… At least they tab in the “right” order (vertically, then horizontally). Also, “Profession” and “Hobby”? These are required fields. Fine, I can get on board with profession, but hobby? I certainly have more than one. In retrospect, I should have said “posting examples of bad forms”.

I fill out a lot of forms. So I’m pretty good at tabbing through fields, and guessing at what key I should hit to get the right answer from a drop down menu. For example, when I hit an age field, I’m pretty confident pressing “2″ because generally the ranges are 18-24, 25-34, and so on, and I fit into the 25-34 range. Or when I hit the expiry date   Read More ...

It’s generally recommended that you design your form so that the fields are all the same size. This makes it look pretty. Exceptions can be made for things that have a specific size, like zip/postal codes, or those individual phone number boxes. But there is absolutely no reason to make the field 16 times bigger than it needs to be: In case you’re wondering, it’s not like the options in   Read More ...

Every time someone submits a form online, they either implicitly or explicitly have to accept the rules/regulations/terms and conditions/privacy policy/whatever that the company asking for the data lays out. So not surprisingly, this contest form has a required checkbox for me to indicate that I accept the rules and regulations of the contest. I “forgot” to check it off. But this didn’t seem to bother the form – it happily   Read More ...

Servers were born to take data in and process it. So requiring the person filling out your form to do the hard work of putting data into the right format is just mean. This form specifies formats for both the postal code (e.g., G1H 5G6) and the phone number (e.g., 418 877-9286). In an attempt to be ornery, I entered data in incorrect formats: Postal code: G1H5G6 (no space) Phone   Read More ...

I hate finding an awesome sounding contest only to discover I’m not eligible because I’m not American. Well, the tables have turned on this one. If you read the contest rules (which, by the way, are linked from the bottom of the page and load in the same window, so if you have already entered data and then click to the rules, you might lose what you’ve typed in), only   Read More ...

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