RE: Seeking advice on the best way to phrase an error message?

Subject: RE: Seeking advice on the best way to phrase an error message?
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: "Mike Starr" <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>, <HBacheler -at- aol -dot- com>, <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, <ipsque -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 10:52:21 -0700

Harry Bacheler wrote:

> The dash) -, the open parenthesis (, and the close parenthesis )
> are values that can be 'skipped' in the parsing/verificatin/
> validation of the [telephone] number.

and Mike Starr replied:

> [In] almost all current development environments .... all the user
> needs to do is type the numbers; the punctuation is just ignored.

The big problem, in my experience, isn't that people use unexpected punctuation; it's that they enter a 7-digit phone number when you want a 10-digit number, and/or they include a leading "1", and/or it's their work number and they want to include an extension... And God help you if they live in another country; they might or might not want to include their country code, they might or might not include a "0" or "00" or "011" access code, their area code could be 1 digit or 5 digits, their local number could be practically any length, etc., etc.

Or they just don't HAVE a phone number.

Making "phone number" a required field is probably a mistake; if you do that, you'll frustrate a number of your users, and you'll get worthless numbers like "000 000-0000" from a significant percentage of the rest.

-Andrew

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References:
Re: Seeking advice on the best way to phrase an error message?: From: HBacheler
Re: Seeking advice on the best way to phrase an error message?: From: Mike Starr

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