Displaying telephone numbers: how do you do it?

26 Jan 2009 - 5:34am
5 years ago
9 replies
3355 reads
Mike Padgett
2008

Hi, all!

International telephone numbers. We've all worked with them, we all love them! What do *you* do with yours?

Here's an example. Let's say that, to call a client in Belgium from the UK, I physically dial this number:

// 0-0-3-2-2-1-2-3-4-5-6-7

So if this number is to be found on the client's website:

a) What would be a *legible* and *internationally recognised* onscreen method of display in your opinion?

Examples might be:

// +32(0)21234567
// 00 32 2 123 4567
// +32 2123 4567
// etc.

b) How would you capture a number like that in a form?

Examples might be:

// International code: [ ] Area code: [ ] Number: [ ]
// Telephone: [ ] (and figure it out in the code like Skype)
// etc.

Haven't seen much written about this (perhaps it isn't very important), but I'd like very much to see what a consensus of opinion looks like, if you'd like to weigh in.

Mike

-------------------
www.mikepadgett.com

Comments

26 Jan 2009 - 7:47am
Maria De Monte
2008

Hi MIke,

I often had this kind of problem, either as user and as designer.

In my experience, formats like those 32 2 123 4567 are not often
legible, for 2 rasons:
1.International code: most people works locally with numbers starting
with 0... having a number starting with is a nonsense, so first time
they would try dialing , or going straight to 32... So I'd rather
insert 0032 or any international code preceeded with 00.
2. Local code. I usually use the form in brackets, even if this is
not always the best solution, it gives the user the idea "is this
number to be used or not??) so at the worst they would have to try
twice before getting it right... So I'd write 0032 (0)2 123 4567.

So said, I have an example of a ryanair.com form in which the phone
number has to be insert divided in international code, local code and
telephone number. Each area only accepts a certain amount of digits
which helps in recognizing what to insert, but it's not always
intuitive. For example, the international code only accepts up to 3
digits. This means it has to be inserted without any or 00 before
the numbers... Quite odd, I'd say.

Probably a good solution would be to let the user insert the code
directly or, in case, come up with a help page in which a list of
countries are given with the correspondant code.

Finally, bare in mind that not everyone knows their own international
code.

Hope this helps,

cheers,

Maria

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26 Jan 2009 - 7:49am
Maria De Monte
2008

just noticed that the plus ( ) simbol didn't come up in the previous
post. Is it still readable?

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26 Jan 2009 - 11:23am
Mike Padgett
2008

Should be OK, Maria, I think I can figure it out!

Thanks

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Maria
Sent: 26 January 2009 05:49
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Displaying telephone numbers: how do you do it?

just noticed that the plus ( ) simbol didn't come up in the previous post.
Is it still readable?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=37637

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26 Jan 2009 - 7:17am
raymond crowley
2009

re; a)

32(0)21234567 format annoys me greatly as it leads to problems
copying into Skype and other voip apps.

32 2123 4567 is the preferred format among the people I work with.

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26 Jan 2009 - 4:37pm
kai guse
2005

Hi Mike,

there is a standard for formatting national/international phone numbers, as
shortly described at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.123

Cheers,
Kai

26 Jan 2009 - 4:38pm
Mike Padgett
2008

Looks great, Kai, thanks!

Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Yohan Creemers | Ylab [mailto:yohan at ylab.nl] On Behalf Of Kai Guse
Sent: 26 January 2009 23:37
To: mike.padgett at fincaso.com
Cc: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Displaying telephone numbers: how do you do it?

Hi Mike,

there is a standard for formatting national/international phone numbers, as
shortly described at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.123

Cheers,
Kai

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18:37

26 Jan 2009 - 5:05pm
Jerome Ryckborst
2007

Digits get grouped differently in different countries, and the separators
differ in different countries. You know this, which is why you're asking, of
course.

Is it likely that the audience for a number in Belgium is not the same as a
number in RSA or Australia? If so, can you format the phone number to fit
the expectation of the audience?

I think the biggest challenge is with phone numbers that have an "initial"
zero that you dial locally but that you omit when dialling from outside the
country.

Whenever I struggle with phone numbers, it's inevitably a problem with that
zero, exacerbated by whatever long-distance access number (e.g. phone card)
that I'm having to dial first, to "save money".

26 Jan 2009 - 5:09pm
Angel Marquez
2008

Progressively disclose the form fields based on the users input.

26 Jan 2009 - 5:21pm
Angel Marquez
2008

For an interaction designer it would be a matter of presenting the data
vertical or horizontal by scrolling clicking (obviously horizontal scroll).
For a visual designer it would be a matter of typography, color, and spacing
(their is guidelines and best practices available).

For a developer it would be a matter of using an if else, or a switch
statement (I would use my gut instinct based on the existing architecture).

For qa it is a matter of knowing all variations of input and executing them
at different levels.

For a PM you should be aware of the above and making sure it is happening in
a timely manner.

For marketing you should be aware of your competitors and your users
activity and communicating it to your team.

For sales you shouldn't have to resort to used car lot tactics because the
team upstairs is competent and always sinks 3 pointers, people want what
they make.

For a User you should be anticipating the next release of what the above
individuals are putting together for you to experience.

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