Over-zealous validation

Now, I’m all in favour of form validation, it makes sure that you get the right sort information from whoever is trying to contact you, not necessarily the correct information but at least a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately form validation is only as good as the people defining the rules. Most things that get checked, email addresses, credit card numbers, dates and the like are all pretty straightforward; though I do wish people would allow spaces in credit card numbers – that’s how it’s written on my card and it would be so much simpler as a user to check you’ve correctly entered four groups of four digits rather than staring at one long string of 16 digits.

But I digress, the current bugbear is name validation. I’m of the opinion that the only thing you should check is that the field hasn’t been left blank. What you should most definitely not do is restrict the characters that can be entered to just the alphabet.

Apparently some people think you’re not allowed to have hyphens in your name.

This hasn’t affected me directly but my other half has a double-barrelled name and on a couple of occasions recently he has run into contact forms that will not let him enter his name correctly through over-zealous validation of this type.

To all form coders out there, the point of validating the information is to make sure that it is as accurate as possible; rules that are too strict are self-defeating.


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