The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

A distinction without a difference

Note: Upon further investigation, it seems that the form I was looking at was made using java script, and the yellow/white form fields appear only on the Firefox browser. The form fields show up as all white in Internet Explorer v. 6, which I generally use only to check web design compatibility issues.

Required_fields This is from the annoying design tricks department. The screen-shot to the left is from an actual web page on an otherwise nicely put together site for a well respected web service company that shall go unnamed, because I’m a little ticked off. I’ve encountered this before, and I fell for it again.

To my simple way of thinking, the yellow fields indicate required information, and the white form fields signify optional information, except that’s not the way it works. When I fill in only the yellow fields and submit the form, I get an error message that I have left out required information, with cute little bright red exclamation points next to each of the empty white fields, to show me exactly what I neglected to provide.

I’ve thought about it and thought about it, and I simply cannot come up with any explanation that makes any sense to me. If the different field colors don’t indicate a difference between required and optional information, what do the different colors communicate?

What’s the purpose? There has to be more to it than an otherwise unexpressed unconscious Freudian resentment of some neurotic web designer aiming to manifest his displeasure with the world by pissing me off, but what is it?

I don’t get it.

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Written by Tom Fox

09/20/2007 at 6:59 am

Posted in Idiots, Web Design

2 Responses

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  1. […] I went back and completed the whitepaper request form at ExactTarget.com (see: prior blog entry, and the information was quickly delivered, very useful, and clearly presented. I have no […]

  2. […] , Web Design   Upon further investigation, it seems that the form I was looking at (see: A distinction without a difference) was made using java script, and the yellow/white form fields appear only on the Firefox browser. […]


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