Product Design

Could be better: Chase cell phone number field

By Nicholas Gracilla  ·   March 30, 2011  ·  2 minute read

Topics: User Experience

Humans shouldn't be forced to enter phone numbers or zip codes in special formats for machines. Instead, machines should take what we give them, and nicely format them for us.

Humans shouldn’t be forced to enter phone numbers or zip codes in special formats for machines. Instead, machines should take what we give them, and nicely format them for us.

A text message fraud alert from the bank seems like a good idea to me!  So while doing some banking on Chase’s otherwise excellent online banking system, I signed up for it.  I didn’t have a lot of time, and all they needed was my mobile number.  Right? 

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No, not quite.  I had to enter my mobile number in the right way , too.  This could be better in a number of ways: 

  1. The form fields didn’t use labels or hints to guide my text entry.  How could I know you wanted dashes, versus (312) parenthesis, etc.? 
  2. The angry red warning message is actually wrong.  My phone number is exactly correct; it’s the format that’s wrong. At least be honest: you want me to jump through your special dashes-hoops. 
  3. But, why do this at all?  It’s a very simple process for a web application to parse through a phone number and separate out the area code, prefix, and suffix of the number. Why should I do this for the computer? 

While a text message fraud alert system seems like a great idea, I’m left feeling like it’s going to be a trouble.  If it’s this hard to get working to start, how can I trust it with something as sensitive as banking fraud?