Data entry format for phone numbers

20 Jun 2008 - 1:40am
6 years ago
3 replies
1994 reads
Harikrishna VP
2008

Dear All,

I would like to hear advice from IXDA members on the format for entering
phone numbers in a web application.
Should it be displayed as

- + |Textfield for country code| |Textfield for area code| |Textfield
for phone number| OR
- + |Textfield for the entire number| OR
- |Textfield for the entire number|

Regards
Harikrishna VP

Comments

20 Jun 2008 - 7:27am
Rony Philip
2007

Hi Hari,

Use a single field entry. Do NOT break the number into three separate
fields. You should allow the field to accept and remove blanks and other
separators.

For International phone numbers, if it is critical, you need to know the
specific country and then format for that country. Otherwise leave a large
field for the user to enter what they want.

Cheers,

Rony
On 6/20/08, Harikrishna VP <harikvp at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear All,
>
> I would like to hear advice from IXDA members on the format for entering
> phone numbers in a web application.
> Should it be displayed as
>
> - + |Textfield for country code| |Textfield for area code| |Textfield
> for phone number| OR
> - + |Textfield for the entire number| OR
> - |Textfield for the entire number|
>
> Regards
> Harikrishna VP
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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20 Jun 2008 - 8:41pm
Christopher Jarzabek
2008

I partially agree with Rony. Is the target audience primarily from one
country? I am American, and I am accustomed to our 10-digit string,
only using '1' when calling from a land-line. I am willing to bet
that most Americans aren't even aware that the '1' is our
international calling index. Furthermore, I have a lot of foreign
friends, and they have trouble understanding the format of their own
number system. Most often, there are zeros thrown in that are used
some times and other times not. They obviously know how to call
people within their own country, but never seem to know how they
would call from somewhere else, like the US.

Therefore, I would either go for one text-field, or a system that
guided the user. The latter approach would certainly require more
effort and expertise, but if you got it right, would significantly
decrease the likelihood for mistakes and misunderstanding.

Ironically, I just came across a split phone-number form within the
last few days. It was broken down into three parts (area code 3
digits 4 digits). I found it very annoying, primarily because I am
*accustomed* to tabbing between fields, but these three form fields
automatically moved the caret, which completely screwed me up.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30411

23 Jun 2008 - 7:20am
Steven Chalmers
2007

Store the telephone number as a single text field.

Unless a telephone number is going to be used by the software to actually dial the number then the formatting need not be restrictive. Let the user format the phone number the way they are comfortable with it.

You will possibly hit resistance from the developers or the database architect on this, as I have many times, because they are so used to rigid formatting for phone numbers. But again, if the consumer of that data is a human, not a machine, then the human won't have any trouble reading it.

The text field is so much more flexible too. What if I want to include an extension, or a note? All of the following examples should be accepted by the software:

(303) 123-1234
303.123.1234
(303) 123 1234 - Don't call after 4:00.
(303) 123-1234 Extension 14

We don't guide the user when entering their street address. There is no need to guide them when entering their phone number.

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