Show the MAX length Requirement Too!

July 12, 2009 at 2:08 AMBen

When creating an account online and you need to enter your desired username and password, it's common for there to be a note regarding the minimum number of characters required for a username/password.  But the maximum character limit is often omitted in this note.  Particularly for passwords, when allowed, I try to make 36 character passwords.  My passwords are just random characters of letters, numbers and special characters.  Every time I spend 30 seconds creating one of these passwords, I always tell myself I need to get one of those random password generators -- but end up never getting one!

Back to my point -- all sites should be making use of the "maxlength" attribute on a text input element.  Not just for usernames/passwords, but for every piece of data that is accepted through a text input.  At the very very least, indicating the maximum length in a note next to the input field would be appreciated.

On numerous sites I've registered at (including large sites), there is no note, and there is no maxlength on the input field.  I spend my 30 seconds typing in a 36 character password to find out when I click the Submit button that the password is too long.  In a couple of cases, the site doesn't even tell you the password is too long.  They just report "Invalid Password".  I'll try shortening it in chunks until they take it.

This may just be a small user experience point, but adding a maxlength attribute takes no time at all and provides immediate knowledge you've reached the max character limit.

W3C Validated Links

September 21, 2008 at 9:33 PMBen

Every so often I'm at a website and notice a "This page is Valid XHTML" link somewhere on the page.  The link takes you to the W3C's validator page, examines the HTML of the page you came from and gives a report.  If the HTML validates without any issues, you get a nice green bar with a message stating something similar to:

This document was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

The problem is that of the few times I've bothered clicking on one of these links on someone's site, not uncommonly the validator comes back reporting errors:

Errors found while checking this document as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!

... oops, that's not supposed to happen!  In fairness, it's usually just a couple of minor issues that don't cause any major issues on the website.  But, the red text and the "Errors found" message gives a bad impression.  I would imagine when the site was originally put together, the HTML validated and the designer slapped a "Validated" link on the page.  Most likely the HTML that doesn't conform to the spec crept into the page during subsequent modifications and updates.

Unless you're selling or showcasing website templates, putting a "Page Validated" link on your website doesn't seem worth it.  These links are meaningless to almost all visitors and they require the site maintainer to constantly revalidate their HTML when making modifications.  When the site maintainer forgets to re-validate or doesn't know he should re-validate, you end up giving a worst impression to the visitor who clicks on your "Validated" link and finds errors than if you never had the link in the first place.

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