Saturday, March 31, 2007

Where Do You Want To Spell Today?

Dealing with misspelling when designing forms ...

"I grew up in upstate NY, where summer is just three weeks of bad skating. It’s also the land of hard-to-spell locations, due to the influence of both Dutch Settlers and Native American naming schemes. For example, I lived in Schenectady county in a town named Niskayuna (which, I was told, is the Iroquois word for “high taxes”).

Hard-to-spell locations are the bane of the travel web site developer. The traditional approach to a free-form type-in box puts a burden on spelling-correction technology, which needs to match a user’s notion of an unfamiliar destination to the actually venue.

In the hotel industry, this is even more difficult, since someone may want to plan a business trip to Gloucester, MA (which is pronounced “glosster”), but the nearest hotel property is in Peabody (which sounds more like “P. Diddy” than the more expected “Pea Body”). Not only do they have to correct for all the cities they have properties in, but all of the surrounding destinations someone might want to visit. With the free-form type-in approach, a missed spelling correction results in a “Sorry, we didn’t find any hotels near Glosster” error message, possibly losing a sale to a competitor.

Over at, they replaced the free-form type-in box with auto-filled pull-downs. Using pull-downs works fine for Southwest because they support only 63 airports, but this method would become quickly cumbersome for a larger airline, such as United or American, which services hundreds of destinations across the globe."    (Continued via UIE Brain Sparks)    [Usability Resources]

Southwest Auto-Filled Pull-Down - Usability, User Interface Design

Southwest Auto-Filled Pull-Down


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