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Re: a single label where multiple fields follow

From: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 21:06:32 +0930
Message-ID: <4513CAC0.3040400@kbc.net.au>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Quoth Lois Wakeman at 09/22/2006 06:56 PM...
> [2] You don't need to have a long paragraph explaining how to fill in a
> field but just an example to show people how to do it: "enter your credit
> card number, e.g. 1234 5678 9012 or 123456789012"; "enter your sort code
> like 20-30-40" - this simply gets round the need for multiple linked fields
> and all the extra complexity they require.

Until the world does Xforms and we have a bit more control...  Yes, I
know, I am just dreaming.

I find it totally ridiculous that anyone needs to insist on a certain
presentational format, for instance breaking a sixteen digit credit card
number into four lumps of four digits.  Entry of data like this should
be free-form (within reason).  Any programmer can strip
spaces/punctuation from input, or add if required.

Users should be able to enter data as they feel comfortable, with no
forced "artificial" formats.  Even things like British bank sort codes
should be accepted as 309037, 30 90 37, 30 - 90 - 37 or the official
30-90-37.  I have used three different Australian banks and their online
banking systems have been quite inconsistent in the way in which they
accept BSBs - the equivalent of sort codes.  As long as the right digits
are there, it is easy to extract the required data.

It is worthy of note that forcing formats does not just affect those in
other countries - I have had major problems here (in Australia) getting
the national telco to accept that rural addresses do not necessarily
have street names/numbers.

The only time where I can see that a format needs to be forced - and
thus contextual help be provided - is with dates.  Like non-adoption of
SI units in certain parts of the world, I don't see standardisation of
date formats to something sensible (ISO8601) happening in any of our
lifetimes.  In addition to contextual help, we could always provided
either a default date (if appropriate) in the correct format as a guide,
or even yyyy-mm-dd in the input field.

Cheers

M

(For those who are curious, 30-90-37 is the sort code of Lloyds Bank,
Axminster branch.)
Received on Friday, 22 September 2006 11:36:44 GMT

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