Thursday, August 20, 2009

Form input time waster...

Why is it that often when you open up a page on which there is an input form, you have to manually move your cursor to the first field before you can actually start entering your data? I.e., you have to either TAB to the field or move the pointer and click in the field. When you consider all the forms that are on the web and all the people that use these forms, this is incredibly inconvenient and time-wasting.

For example, does place your cursor properly when prompted for a webmail or customer login, but not when you are working on the forms to manage your site. And, when I go to Amazon, I'd like to type in the name of the book I'm searching for, but first I have to click on the search box before I can start entering my text. The Office Depot shopping site does a nice job of putting your cursor into the "quantity" field when you go to a catalog page... just type in how many you want and move on.

I find this really irritating: if there's a form on a web page, it's a pretty safe bet that they want you to add some data into some of the fields...right? So why don't they start you off in the right place?

It's actually quite easy to do: it just takes a call to whatever command is available in the web development framework (it's called "setting the focus" to that field) when displaying the form and your user is ready to go. Once I realized this, I added this to my own 4MyPasswords site.

Why can't everyone do this? Sure would save a lot of time...

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