Keep in mind that users don't read

August 15, 2005

I was just updating my cell phone plan on T-Mobile's web site. They asked me to enter the last four digits of my social security number, or my birth date to confirm my identity.

I was just making a quick change, so I didn't read the instructions on the form written in font size xx-small. So I entered both the last 4 digits of my ssn, and my birthday. This caused the form to send an error back saying enter the last four digits of your social security number, or your birthday. Again I missed the OR, and after one more erroneous attempt I finally read it carefully, I entered just one, and it worked.

But my question of the day is, why would you throw an error message for providing too much information?

Also some advice, if you have a form with an option like that, it may be better off to add some more separation. I think perhaps having one option on the left, a big, bold OR in the middle, and one on the right would work better.

Related Entries

7 people found this page useful, what do you think?


To me, they either A) shouldnt give you the option. You should know both your social and your date of birth so why give you a choice? or B) make you enter in both. Again, you should know both and this will provide more security, or at least make you feel more secure ;). If I have your ssn, chances are Im going to have your date of birth too ;)
I had a similar problem when signing up to Windows Live Alerts. It instructed you to enter your phone number, and I had to try at least 7 different formats before it finally accepted it. There was no information provided as to how to correctly enter it.
I Agree with the previous comments. Anyways, if the system asks for one and only ONE field to be entered, it would be nice that while entering data in a field, the other becomes disabled.

Post a Comment


Spell Checker by Foundeo

Recent Entries


did you hack my cf?