Don’t Waste My Time With Specific Formats If You Don’t Need Them

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).

This form "requires" data in specific formats (but doesn't actually).

In an attempt to be ornery, I entered data in incorrect formats:

  • Postal code: G1H5G6 (no space)
  • Phone number: 4188779286 (no space or hyphen)

Lo and behold, the form accepted it. Obviously they don’t need data in a specific format, so why ask for it?

4 replies
  1. Kelly Halseth
    Kelly Halseth says:

    I agree that pushing the burden onto the form filler is tiresome, considering the the power of electronic data capture. What’s even MORE irritating? When they require a specific format, but can’t be bothered showing me the input mask until I’ve entered it and I receive and error message.


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