Jul 24, 2008

Do not ask more than you need

There is a very nice principle for designing web sites. It sound likes this: "Do not ask from user more than you really need".

I often remember this principle when I go to download sample chapters of free demos from web sites. Many of them ask for lots of data. Why, for example, they need to know my social security code or phone number? Or why do they need my e-mail if I want to download the sample chapter? Do they want to spam me?

I usually refuse to give such information because I do not see why they need it and how they will use it. I am not paranoid but I do not see a need to give my details to every unfamiliar person or company.

Why am I writing about it here?I read buzz.typo3.org very seldom and even never write comments there. Today I decided to write a comment. Look at the screenshot:

Why does buzz.typo3.org need my e-mail? I trust typo3.org team but I am sure they will not really contact me due to my comment. Neither they verify this address, so I could write complete stupidity there. Why then? They force me to type it but do not use it.

I can only conclude that it is simply bad default configuration. I do not know who created buzz.typo3.org but he definitely did not test it thoroughly for usability.

It is an important issue when you make your web site. Check that you do not ask more than you need.

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