I’m really disappointed about how stupid web forms are sometimes. Consider this:

  • A captcha that has as a side-note: “Please do not enter whitespace characters“.
    • Why can’t the website just filter the whitespace?
  • A edit field for a URL that has as a side-note: “Please also enter the http://“.
    • Why can’t the website just add the http:// when it is missing?!
  • A submit button with side-note “Please hit submit only once“.
    • Most websites don’t have this anymore, they disable the Submit button with Javascript. Thank you :)
  • A edit field for a phone number that insists on a specific number format.
    • Does the number format matter in any way except for the +Countrycode at the beginning? Why not just filter everything except numbers?

All of these mentioned are even happening on very big sites who should have the people who know better. Are there any reasons except annoying me?

Does anyone have more examples? Please comment :)

(Translated from the blog of guruz)

Update: Blogoscoped has another posting about forms in websites.

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Viewing 5 Comments

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    The funny thing is, the BROWSER should give the feedback that your form is being send, but if you look at IE7 or IE8, you can hardly tell it anymore. So now the web developers have to add behaviour to all of their forms or the users will start to "whine".
    Not trying to defend the "users are stupid" pseudo-argument, just pointing out that the responsibility to provide the clearly needed feedback seems to have shifted from the browser to the web application and basically the web developers take the blame for the mistakes of the browser developers now.

    Of course Markus is right, a simple nonce can prevent most problems from double submissions. That doesn't solve the lack of feedback, but it at least prevents corrupted data.

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    The most important reason why those things are not into browsers right now according to me, is because it will only complicate things.
    Let me explain:
    Imagine having to expand html (or xhtml) with all the functions you want. Now imagine you have to get it supported by all big browsers out there. Since we have another browser war, that won't be that hard but still. Now think about the fact that all your messages have to be able to be translated, but also supply default settings. Now, those default settings should be the same on every platform/browser. If you got that far, think about different encodings. Sure, the whitespaces are trimmed when entering just latin1, but are they trimmed when entering utf8? And the error message is shown correctly in English, but what about ie Arabic where text is written from right to left? Localization in itself is one of the most important and hard parts of writing software that is going to be used all over the world. Next is the backwards compatibility. You can't just expect all people to install a new browser at once! Look at the usage statistics of IE6, 30% of the people still use it and god knows it doesn't follow standards. Things might not seem as easy as you think...

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    Turned off Javascript (be it per default or on purpose) has to be considered, yes. But this is what nonces ("number used once") in a hidden form field can be used for.


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    Regard the submit button what if u browes the website without javascript on or better, what if u noticing this behaviour turn javascript off??? ahhhhh??
    for sure you developer have to keep that in mind, one little thing between the magic world of web developing

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    @Thomas Farrell and your

    "Why can’t users be more intelligent? Why do we programmers have to go to the trouble of coding buttons that vanish after used "

    You are the type of person I would never want in my team, an arrogant programmer that thinks all users are stupid - you give IT departments a bad name. You talk about intelligence - have you ever considered being intelligent and thinking about it from a users POV. Have you ever dealt with a non-responsive interface? How do you know your action has actually be processed? Need a clue - it is called feedback.

    Would you find as website where you submit and order and the page remains the same once your order is submitted a good design? I mean, why would anyone want email confirmation, why should programmers go to the bother of coding it.

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