Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Handling URL entries

Usability of entering a link in a form ...

"In Dashboard HQ Bookmarks, we came across an interesting, and very common, design problem: how to handle the entry of URLs.

The idea behind Dashboard HQ Bookmarks is to give people a way to get all their bookmarks out of their browsers and into a web page. It’s not social, and it’s not glamorous. It’s just a great way to keep a grip on all the bookmarks you need when moving between the two or three (or more!) different computers you use on a daily basis (work, home, laptop).

To facilitate this, obviously, users need to be able to create new bookmarks, and this is a potential error just waiting to happen. You can ether paste an address into the Address field, or you can type in an address manually. When an address is pasted in, it usually includes the “http://”. When it’s typed in manually, it often does not. But we have to use the entered address to create a link regardless of how it’s entered.

To handle this, we considered adding the “http://” as the default value in the Address field.

Seems obvious enough, right? It’s a standard solution, so we could have left it at that. But this solution meant forcing the user to make a choice every time he created a bookmark. He could either keep the “http://” and start typing the rest of the address afterwards, or he could erase the “http://” and paste in a URL copied from somewhere else.

And with this in mind, do do we highlight the “http://” automatically when the field gains focus, or not?"    (Continued via Robert Hoekman, jr.)    [Usability Resources]

URL Entry - Usability, User Interface Design

URL Entry


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