July 30, 2006

UI Validation isn't that hard

After filling out an "email" form to contact customer service at our bank, I got the error "The transaction date you have entered is invalid. Please re-enter a valid date in "MM/DD/YY" format.". Sure enough, I had entered the transaction date as "7/25/06", not "07/25/06".

This kind of thing happens all the time on web forms. Another common example is phone number entry fields, which often demand the form of aaa-bbb-cccc or (aaa)bbb-cccc, or some other variant, refusing to accept any other.

This isn't rocket science. Most systems have APIs that can take various formats for date strings and figure out what they really mean. Even if there isn't an API on your web platform of choice, it can't be that hard to parse manually. However long it takes to implement, I would bet any amount of money that it's a fraction of the time spent by users re-entering data that didn't pass the validation.

Posted by Mike at July 30, 2006 07:41 PM

My friend Dallas says that it's because all webforms are created by interns. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: mko on July 30, 2006 08:53 PM