We all encounter online forms or information boxes where we are asked to fill in our phone numbers. Its a small and yet crucial piece of information for the business. And most importantly, for the user who would be sharing his/her most critical and private information with you.
As a business you need to ensure that the user provides you the information without hesitation and inconvenience. Any doubt in the users mind and he/she would totally avoid making that commitment. So what is one suppose to do? Here, I would like to focus only on the user interface aspect of the process. Two important aspects of this activity are crucial – ease of user and a good experience.
It’s just a number. It should be easy, right?
Not really! Phone numbers can be provided as just the user connection number or the entire number with the country or region code added in. Even if your system is intelligent enough to understand the number added, the user would not be sure if he has made the entry correctly. He/she would probably not be sure what to add, to start with. There are times when users would want to share their landline number or mobile number. Landline numbers need regional code apart from country code to make it valid. Hence intuitiveness is critical.
Why the need for a good experience experience for giving a number?
A user may know his number, but might not recall the area code or the country code. You should not be assuming that they would. Surprising the user by pre-loading the country code may not bring a smile to their face, but sure will make it a whole lot easier.
Note: There are many other aspects of usability and user experience that can be covered. But instead of getting all technical, I just want to highlight the crucial aspects of taking a users phone number. From a technical perspective I would just like to add one point here. Don’t over indulge with code to make a fabulous looking form. If the browser or device does not support the code, the user might not be able to add the number at all. That would be a disaster you should avoid. So, set your priority when getting it implemented on your site.