Re: Help on very simple fields

Subject: Re: Help on very simple fields
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 13:56:01 +0800

Caryn Rizell said:
> wouldn't it be better to design the software so that the user knows
> upfront which fields are required?

I agree. If you have any say in designing the interface, it's better to
give the user visual clues as to field length and format. There are
several ways to make your data entry fields accept only valid data.

If you don't have any control over the interface, I wouldn't recommend
that you add unhelpful help for the sake of consistency. If there is
too much detail in the help text, it becomes a burden to keep it up to
date. The programmer changes the field length from 12 to 14 characters,
but no-one remembers to change the information in the help message.

The same applies to source code; in an over-commented program, what the
program does becomes less and less like what the comments say it does.

Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
PO Box 192
Leederville, Western Australia, 6903

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