These characters aren’t exotic!

Unicode Web

Recently I had the opportunity to sign up for health benefits with a 3rd party site that manages these things for my employer. Sites that collect data often limit the set of characters that you must use for each field. That’s reasonable for numeric fields, date fields, etc. After all, you don’t want invalid data in a field, and you’d like to help users enter correct data wherever possible.

However, I think it’s unreasonable to limit characters that are legitimately used in a field type. For example, these characters show up all the time within perfectly valid names:

  • HYPHEN –

Come on…in 2010 these are not exotic characters. They exist in all kinds of unimpressive, common names….like O’Conner for example! In the figure below, the data collection form dislikes the apostrophe. Come on, it’s part of my name.

Unfortunately this is all too common. Do you have a problematic name? Share it with me…what name causes you grief in online forms?

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