Software: December 2011 Archives


December 31, 2011

Spent some of today getting my 2011 charitable donations out of the way, so I've been experiencing a lot of different Web forms. Remember, these people want my money, so it would be nice if they didn't make the experience so irritating. On that basis, here are some things not to do:
  • Refuse to accept spaces or dashes in my credit card number, phone number, social security number, etc. Don't force me into your stupid format; parse whatever I send you. Here, let me help. The following JS code strips out spaces and dashes. input = input.replace(/[ \-]/g, "");. For an appropriately huge consulting fee I'll show you how to replace periods and pluses, too.
  • Force me to tell you what kind of credit card I have. This information is encoded in the leading digits of the credit card number. This table may help. I know that things change, but seriously, you could at least try to guess.
  • Force me to select "USA" out of the end of an incredibly long drop-down list of countries. It's true that you can generally determine someone's country by looking at their IP address, but I can certainly understand not wanting to bother with that, but if most of your customers are American, it's silly to force them to scroll all the way to the end out of a misguided notion of national equity. Make my life easy and put the USA as the first item in the list, people.
  • Make me enter my state and my zip code. In nearly all cases, the zip code encodes the state.

Also, not a Web form issue, but I also wish there were some way to tell these organizations not to ask me for donations during the year. I give once a year, at the end of the year. It's just a matter of convenience. Sending me a bunch of physical letters asking for money just wastes your fund raising dollars and my time.