If there’s one thing that drives me insane online, it’s when input forms allow me to enter incorrect data, only to point out the mistake after I try and submit it. It seems like half the forms I submit have to be refilled and submitted over again because I didn’t include an uppercase letter in my password, or I did, or the password can only be numerical, or some other requirement nobody thought to mention.<\/p>\r\n
The way the brain works, we look for solutions based on the tools in front of us. You don’t enter uppercase letters at the ATM do you? No, because the ATM keypad only has numbers. You might hit the wrong number by mistake, but you’ve never tried to enter your email address, or your mother’s maiden name.<\/p>\r\n
Therein lies the problem, the keyboard that you use complicates inputting data online. It probably has between 75 and 100 keys and even more characters are easily accessible by holding multi-key combinations. Using it to log into Facebook is rather like popping out for milk in a Ferrari.<\/p>\r\n
Of course, your keyboard has to have more input options than any particular form field requires, because it’s a multi-use tool; you can’t practically have a different keyboard for every possible type of input.<\/p>\r\n
This leads to a serious usability issue: users are constantly being asked to ‘correct’ their information to suit a form. That’s a great way to increase frustration and lose business.<\/p>\r\n
Touchscreen devices have made great strides in this area by modifying the onscreen keyboard to tailor the types of input possible, to the data required; enter an email address on an iPhone for example, and you won’t be able to enter a space by mistake, because the spacebar isn’t provided.<\/p>\r\n
Ben Moss is Senior Editor at WebdesignerDepot. He’s designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. One of these days he’ll run a sub-4hr marathon. Say hi on Twitter.