East of the Sun, West of the Moon

2007/7/9

User Interface SNAFU of the day

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 7:32 pm

Occasionally you may have to fill out a form with a pull-down list of states and notice that Alaska is the first entry in the list, instead of Alabama, which you’d expect if you’re sorting alphabetically, but aside from each first letter being sorted correctly, it just looks chaotic:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona

The explanation is actually very easy: Whoever put together the pull-down list sorted the states by the (invisible to you) two-letter abbreviations of the state, instead of the names that you do see:

		<option value="AK">Alaska</option>
		<option value="AL">Alabama</option>
		<option value="AR">Arkansas</option>
		<option value="AZ">Arizona</option>
                ...

For very similar reasons I’ve had to look for my mother tongue (Dutch) somewhere near Norwegian instead of near Danish, because it was sorted as “NL”!

Today I ran into the incorrect sorting of states on the tvguide.com website, hardly a low profile outfit, one that you’d expect to get it right.

Is it really so difficult to spend an extra 5 minutes on getting it right?

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