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Re: e-mail addresses and proper forms labelling of their constituent parts


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Sep 15, 2003 2:08PM

On Mon, 15 Sep 2003, Lori K. Brown wrote:

> Right now, the form requests the pop client address in two different
> fields, with an @ sign in between them.

There are many pros and cons here. Such a scheme may help people to enter
correct information, and in some cases it helps them to avoid the problem
"how do I type '@'?" (which can be a real problem at times, depending on
keyboard etc.).

But I think the cons weigh more. People are _used_ to typing their E-mail
address. This is the most important point here. Anything that deviates
from the normal practice causes problems to some people, and raises

> 2) Would an example, like ' <EMAIL REMOVED> ', be helpful?

Questionable. People might even take it as a real example. (Do you _know_
whether that particular address actually exists?) I think it is best to
specify in plain English that an E-mail address is to be provided, and
leave it at that. People who need help with the concept should try and
find some local help. You cannot possibly tell what they might need.
People who are not experienced with computers often have problems in
knowing which E-mail address to use and what their E-mail address is
really is. (For example, after changing ISP, people can get really
confused with all kinds of addresses and user ids and passwords.)
Any extra complexity in prompting for an E-mail address will probably
just add to the confusion.

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

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