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Re: Order of wording in listing phone numbers - advice


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Mar 20, 2003 11:33AM

On Thu, 20 Mar 2003, jeb wrote:

> I am putting together a rather large web document that contains lots of
> contact information for the user.

In general, bulky data is best made available via query interfaces rather
than as static files. The normal method is to have a form where the user
can type in a name and get contact information for a particular person or
a small set of persons. But it takes some work to make this work well,
preferably with fuzzy logic in matching. Besides, a large file still has
its uses, and it can be used with the browsers Find function.

> My concern in the person reading will hear the number first and then the
> designation. I am also concerned about using the designation "voice" versus
> "phone." Should the preferable model be?:
> Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
> Fax: xxx-xxx-xxxx
> TTY: xxx-xxx-xxxx
> Toll Free Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

I'm not sure whether "Phone" or "Voice" is better. But I think you're
right in the observation that the explanation should appear first.
The simple criterion "how does it work when read aloud" is useful here.

You might put the texts and numbers in a table, since logically they form
a matrix, with the texts in one column in a header-like manner (I think
they could even be designated as <th>) and corresponding numbers in
another column. This would also let you format the visual appearance in a
manner that people may find more pleasant, by setting the alignment of the

I would use spaces rather than hyphens as separators in phone numbers,
since the applicable standards use spaces in the reference representation,
and such presentation is slightly better - no risk of user agents getting
"-" as something they need to read as "hyphen" or as "minus".

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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