5 web design tips thanks to my new phone

January 4, 2012 - Geekiness

I got a new phone with my xmas bounty (Thanks Mum & Dad!) and it’s great. A Samsung Google Nexus S it’s an android dream with a curved screen and buckets of charisma (yes OK it’s a phone). The device itself is thus far a complete success – I love it. And it was half price in carphone whorehouse so a real bargain to boot.

But … (yes, of course there’s a but) …

The first thing you do with an Android device is to link it to your Google account. About half a day later I received an email inviting me to register my new phone with Samsung, including a handy link to the registration page. Following this link took me to a page which did nothing (header, massive link-heavy footer, nothing inbetween). Hidden away (in the extensive footer full of links), I found a Register your product link which asked for my email and my zip code. Nothing else. They’ve got a nice bit of JavaScript validating their form, and perhaps unsurprisingly, an Aberystwyth postcode wasn’t accepted as a ZIP code.

Then I thought “Maybe I’m on the US site?” so I navigated to Samsung UK, found the Product Registration link (note different wording – and on the UK site, at the top right rather than the bottom left). I started to fill it in, but fall at the first hurdle. They’ve got a nice bit of JavaScript validating their form, and it doesn’t like my email hmd@hannahdee.eu. So I tried a different email, and it likes .co.uk so I filled in the other 13 compulsory form fields on the page. Only to find that on submission, it craps out due to a server error.

Looks like the phone’s going unregistered then…

The web design tips I take from this are:

  1. If you’re sending out a link, send out the right link.
  2. If you’ve got a location-based service, estimate the user’s location, and provide a “change location” link in case it’s wrong.
  3. Don’t use JavaScript form validation for emails unless you really know what you’re doing.
  4. Don’t make form elements compulsory unless they really have to be compulsory.
  5. Don’t have server errors :-)

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