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What's in a name (validation)? v2

Carly Ho
February 23, 2019

What's in a name (validation)? v2

Valid names: Steve Smith, Lisa Baumgarden, Jennifer Miller. Invalid Names: Carly Ho, Kaspars Bērziņš, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam, Manuel Pellegrini Ripamonti? In this talk, I will share my experience as a person with a name uncommon in dominant American culture, discuss how I've had to deal with forms that think my name is invalid, and how we can collect and handle data in inclusive ways.

Carly Ho

February 23, 2019

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  1. What's in a name (validation)? @carlymho

  2. I'm Carly Ho » Senior Engineer @ Clique Studios »

    carlymho.com » @carlymho @carlymho
  3. ! let's talk about names @carlymho

  4. What's your name? » Names are pretty important across cultural

    borders » They're one of the first pieces of info we ask for in conversation » They're one of the first pieces we ask for in account creation » Having someone else mangle your name can range from mildly annoying to genuinely hurtful @carlymho
  5. What's in a name? @carlymho

  6. Some assumptions about names » Everyone has one first name

    and one last name. » Everyone has one first name and two last names! » A name has a minimum of three characters. » A given name comes first, and a family name comes last. @carlymho
  7. Some assumptions about names » Names are composed of letters.

    » Names are composed of letters from the Latin alphabet, or can be losslessly translated into letters from the Latin alphabet. » Names don't change, or only change at a few very specific points in time. » Everyone has one canonical full name. @carlymho
  8. These are all wrong. @carlymho

  9. What is a name? @carlymho

  10. The form of a name is different almost everywhere. @carlymho

  11. Some naming conventions » First name, middle name, last name

    inherited from father. » First name, middle name, one last name from each parent. » One name at home, a "visitor name" for travel. » Family name, given name. » One name for the family tree, one for your first year, one for school, one for work. @carlymho
  12. In the USA, we often assume western european norms. @carlymho

  13. Some things get lost in a melting pot: » Immigrants

    frequently changed their names to assimilate » (And still do.) » People with "weird" names get marked as perpetual foreigners. » "Where are you from?" @carlymho
  14. There's no surefire way to validate names. @carlymho

  15. Inclusive form design considerations @carlymho

  16. What do you need the name for on a form

    for a(n)... » Email newsletter? » Online shopping cart? » Account registration? » Online voter registration? @carlymho
  17. Email newsletter » Technically, you don't need a name here

    » You might want to personalize/customize content » In that case, you probably want someone's given/ first name » One box; ask how they'd like to be addressed @carlymho
  18. Online shopping cart » Shipping and billing information » Names

    for shipping label, billing method » Some people have middle names on their credit card! » One field for each name: "Recipient" and "Name on card" @carlymho
  19. Account Registration » Will a username or email address suffice?

    » Make it possible to change names (and usernames, and emails) » Let users know if a chosen name will be public- facing » (Safety first!) @carlymho
  20. Account Registration » Context is key: ask for the forms

    of address you'll be using » Don't ask for data you don't need - everyone has a security breach eventually @carlymho
  21. Online Voter Registration » This is tied to a legal

    name on a form of ID » Only need to be concerned with local name formats » High importance, so provide adequate instructions @carlymho
  22. The key considerations @carlymho

  23. Do you need their name? @carlymho

  24. Why do you need their name? @carlymho

  25. What part of the name do you need? @carlymho

  26. How can you help the user help you? @carlymho

  27. How will you account for a wide variety of names?

  28. Compassionate Validation @carlymho

  29. Good intentions, bad systems » Old, hard-coded systems » Government

    systems » Stakeholder requirements handed down from on high @carlymho
  30. Be honest @carlymho

  31. Sanitize your inputs!! @carlymho

  32. It's us, not you @carlymho

  33. Work to improve @carlymho

  34. Inclusive forms are good for everyone » People who feel

    welcomed by a service are more likely to engage with it » Inclusive name validation means you can reach a wider variety of people » It's a small but impactful way to make the world easier to live in » Why not make people feel welcome? @carlymho
  35. Resources & Further Reading » "Regular Expression for Validating Names

    and Surnames," stackoverflow » "Your Last Name Contains Invalid Characters," John Graham-Cumming » "Representing People's Names in Dublin Core," Andrew Waugh @carlymho
  36. Resources & Further Reading » "Wookey - is that it?"

    Wookey » "Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names," Patrick McKenzie @carlymho