3

I am wondering what the correct symbol would be to use instead of the regular * = required in the registration form we are using:

We have an address form that has 4 fields of which one of them is required. If one has been completed the validation ignores the other 3. The fields cannot be changed and the validation rules cannot be changed as these are decided by an external source.

e.g

  • Please complete 1 of the 4 fields indicated by the *

    • Organization *
    • House Name *
    • House Number *
    • Flat Number *

The star cannot be used as there are other required fields in the form that are indicated as required. Thus I need to use a separate symbol to represent the alternative required collection.

  • Don't assume that a symbol is the solution to this problem. It's more likely you can solve this issue with how you actually lay out and describe the set of fields. – JonW Mar 5 '18 at 10:39
4

As you said, asterisk symbol is not the one you need. What you can do to improve the context is to group the input fields and give a suitable comment above:

Please complete at least one of the following fields determining your origin/affiliation/location:

  • Organisation
  • House Name
  • House Number
  • Flat Number

Then all the input fields are coloured pale red. Upon filling one of them it gets validated and turns green and all the rest turn grey (or get disabled, according to your preference) to indicate that they are not needed.

Bottom line - make the input form interactive and react to the user as they go.

  • Thanks, Mike, while this is a great solution I have added my own answer as I had found specific symbols to use. I have implemented both so that screen readers will also work well, alongside the visual enhancements. – andrew hutchings Mar 5 '18 at 13:18
0

My first question would be "why is it working like this in the first place", but I understand you have no influence on this. I don't think there is a way to tell a user that they can skip 3 out of 4 without thoroughly confusing them about the pick-and-choose aspect of it.

A symbol or icon will not be able to convey the message, you'll need to alter the labeling. I would personally simply mark none of the fields and change the label above to: "Please fill in the field that is most applicable to your situation". Chances are people will glance over this and try to fill in all fields anyway (and get stuck) - but the situation should clear itself once they see only one field is required.

-3

To answer the question about which symbol to use. A dagger, obelisk or obelus ( † ) is a typographical symbol usually used to indicate a footnote if an asterisk has already been used.

  • U+2020 † DAGGER (HTML &#8224 · † · Alt+0134 in Windows or option-t in macOS)
  • U+2021 ‡ DOUBLE DAGGER (HTML &#8225 · ‡ · Alt+0135 in Windows or option-shift-7 in macOS)

I Belive the correct solution here is to indeed ensure the form fields are grouped and validated in a way in which they are related.

The ideal situation obviously would be to refactor the form to not include such a confusing collection of fields which is not an option in the circumstances.

  • 1
    This only makes sense if you add an actual footnote saying † Please complete at least one of the fields marked with "†". I'd add the footnote below the last such field. I guess, I'd do it only when the accepted solution would be impractical, e.g., because of the field placement. – maaartinus Mar 5 '18 at 14:52
  • If I saw that dagger symbol, I'd look for a footnote. Also, it'd be confusing to see that same symbol for multiple elements. Usually, the ratio of occurrences of that symbol to footnotes is 1:1. In this case, you'd be using it in an unexpected ratio of 4:0... I'd recommend not using that symbol. – maxathousand Mar 5 '18 at 15:06
  • Honestly, for me this symbol always looks like a grave cross, as in someone has died. – Wanda Mar 5 '18 at 15:20
  • You'd better show at least a(n) resource/article supporting that idea or try to visualize it to be more clearly understandable. Otherwise even it would be a solution for some cases, it would be mostly not considered as an answer alternative. Even the part at the end of your answer is appealing, using that symbol not make me think it's useful; other than seems especially not different from any other symbol/character with a footnote explanation. – Erhan Yaşar Mar 5 '18 at 15:41
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    Thanks for your responses. There are a few things I had not accounted for. Hopefully, my comments will help someone else but not a recommended solution. – andrew hutchings Mar 5 '18 at 17:22

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