Thursday, February 24, 2011

If I only had an *

My favorite quote from the Wizard of Oz:

Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma.

I'm designing a new user experience for submitting technical support requests. The support folks said customers aren't giving them enough information and they specified what fields they wanted to be required. So I mocked up a form and put "*" in front of the required fields. Then I cross referenced it against the existing form and found mine was pretty much the same--except for the asterisks.

Pretty powerful thing, an asterisk, apparently it can make our users smarter.


CherylBHunt said...

Interesting that '*' has been accepted by a plurality or majority, as "required".

Was it red?

Techquestioner said...

I think the asterisks work (especially red ones) because myriad web sign-in forms put red asterisks on the required fields. Thus users have already been trained to only pay attention to the fields with asterisks and ignore the rest!