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Online Forms – Please No Asterisks for Phone Numbers

When it comes to building online forms for e-commerce websites or contact pages, many website owners don’t think not only about how to make them accessible to those who are blind and using screen readers or whose who are having difficulties with using keyboards, but also for deaf and hard of hearing people.

To better understand the issue in details, please read the Accessible Forms for Deaf People? article first before learning about solutions that would benefit not just users with hearing difficulties, but everyone else.

It’s not only deaf and hard of hearing people who hate using phones – even those with normal hearing hate talking on phone and also prefer other methods of communication like emailiing, texting, instant messaging.

Here’s a list of selected articles by authors with normal hearing about using phone:

There are more examples that can be googled about why many people hate using phone for various reasons.

So how can the problem be resolved? It’s highly advised that businesses give their customers a choice of how they prefer to be contacted, not the other way around by forcing all of them to share their phone numbers.

Below is a great example of University of Cambridge’s accessible online form that needs to replace the inaccessible Macy’s online form example in the Accessible Forms for Deaf People? article

Accessible online form for contact info
Accessible online form with optional contact info

When doing online forms, please make sure not to use phone as the required contact information. The more options you give to users, the more comfortable they will communicate with you.

Also, please make sure that your business website has all contact information – phone (voice, sms, fax, etc.), email address, instant messaging, mailing address, etc. – so that visitors would have more choices to contact you, too.

In addition to letting users pick their preferred method of communication, please also add a live chat feature to your website. Many people – especially deaf and hard of hearing – love it because they would find it more convenient to communicate with a business representative directly and instantly than waiting for a response via email address or being put on hold when making a phone call.

Here’s a great example of a live chat used by A Small Orange:

Screenshot of A Small Orange Website's Live Chat

If you run a business and care about your visitors by asking them for their preferred method of communication and by sharing all of your contact information details, you would have more happy and satisfied customers.

Published in User Experience

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