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RE: Form submission when successful controls contain characters outside the submission character set

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 18:08:08 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Francois Yergeau <FYergeau@alis.com>
Cc: "www-international@w3.org" <www-international@w3.org>

Hello Ian,

Sorry to be late with replying.

At 17:04 03/09/15 +0000, Ian Hickson wrote:

>On Mon, 15 Sep 2003, Francois Yergeau wrote:
> >>
> >> I do not believe that your average user is likely to understand the
> >> concept of character sets, and I have no idea how I would even begin to
> >> write a warning message for this issue.
> >
> > Look at the Mozilla mailer.  If you try to send a message with
> > out-of-encoding characters, it pops up a warning: "The message you
> > composed contains characters not found in the selected Character Coding,
> > so your message may become unreadable after you send or save it."  It
> > then offers a choice of send anyway or cancel to fix things.  If you
> > send anyway, the offending chars are replaced by question marks.
>That dialog exactly represents the problem I referred to. It is completely
>meaningless to most users.

It is also not appropriate for the forms case, because there
is usually no alternate encodings to choose from.

But it is not too difficult to see how this can be improved.

The user does not understand character encodings, but the
user understands characters, in particular the ones s/he
typed. So it should not be too difficult to pop up a warning
saying (taking US-ASCII and my name, in HTML entities
written D&uuml;rst, as an example):

Sorry, this form cannot handle some of the characters you
just typed. The data will be sent as "D?rst".
      [OK to send]   [Let me change it]

Speaking from personal experience, I would highly prefer
such a message (and the chance to change to "Duerst",
my official fallback) rather than to send garbage to
the server. I also think that the above is not too
difficult to understand for the user, because it is
expressed in terms familiar to the user. Of course,
I'm too much of an expert to be able to judge this,
but you should at least give it a try.

Regards,     Martin.
Received on Thursday, 18 September 2003 18:25:38 UTC

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