Paul McAleer

A Few Form Conventions That Must Die in 2011

Paul McAleer

If your site has them, forms make or break your experience. One lousy validator or error message can disturb the entire process. There are a few standards I, like you, have dealt with long enough. It’s 2011; let’s make these right.

- Requiring slashes on dates (1/2/11).
- Requiring leading zeroes ever on anything (01/02/11).
- Requiring dashes and/or parentheses in US phone number inputs ((312) 555-1212, 312-555-1212.)
- Automatically moving focus between fields in a form; this is usually used when three input fields are used as pseudo-validation for dates.
- Allowing me to exceed a limit on the number of characters you can accept; ie, not setting the maxlength property on an input field.
- The Reset button. Pretend it doesn’t exist.

Forms need to be air tight. Not modernizing your forms and allowing humane input puts an undue burden on people. Let’s not do that.