HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
A browser can autofill much information, even on a form it's never encountered before, if the form uses
standard names for input fields. This helps all of us who hate to waste time retyping repetitive content.
However, it's especially helpful to physically impaired users (including the very young and very old) who have
much greater difficulty typing than average.
You're also more likely to collect accurate and correct information if the browser automatically fills in the values
than if the user types them. Not only is the browser less likely to make random typos, but many users actively
fake the information they input into many web forms.
Potential Trade-offs
You'll probably have to rewrite some back-end code to support this.
You may also need to introduce an additional level of indirection if the database or program that receives data
from the form uses the field names in its own code. This is probably a net positive, though, because it will
increase the flexibility of the back-end code.
Search your forms for common input. In particular, look for the following:
Personal names
Contact information: snail mail addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses
Credit card details: number, name, expiration date, billing address, and so on
Usernames and passwords
All of these can use standard field names that browsers can recognize and that are defined in RFC 3106. For
example, the first line of the street address should be named Ecom_ShipTo_Postal_Street_Line1 . The city for
the billing address should be named Ecom_BillTo_Postal_City . These field names are defined by RFC 3106
and are summarized in Table 6.1 . Yes, the names are a little unwieldy, but users won't see them. It's worth
imposing a small extra burden on the site's developers to assist users in this way.
Table 6.1. Standard Field Names
Minimum Length
Ship to title
Ship to first name
Ship to middle name
Ship to last name
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