[whatwg] Usability issues with input type=url validation

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Wed Oct 17 17:03:26 PDT 2012

On Thu, 18 Oct 2012, Mikey Clarke wrote:
> I'd like a little information on the motivation for using absolute URLs 
> on <input type="url"> validation.
> Currently <input type="url"> is to be validated using absolute URLs. 
> Thus, 'http://www.mysite.com' validates but 'www.mysite.com' does not. I 
> consider this to be a huge usability issue. An ordinary user when asked 
> to provide a URL will be very unlikely to provide the protocol. To an 
> ordinary user 'www.mysite.com' is the URL, not 'http://www.mysite.com'.
> Since most browsers that support both the new input types and that have 
> fully implemented form validation block submission of a form with 
> invalid inputs, a user entering 'www.mysite.com' is unable to submit 
> their form and is instead given an error. Even assuming that the error 
> notice is descriptive enough to alert to the absence of the required 
> protocol (this is currently _not_ the case), the user has already been 
> disrupted. Such strict validation is hostile and potentially confusing 
> to users. As a developer I currently feel compelled to use the 
> 'novalidate' attribute on forms containing type=url to protect my users 
> from this behaviour.
> I feel that if a developer requires the protocol, they are perfectly 
> capable of asking the user for it, and doing so in a much clearer way 
> than the browser itself. If the validation for URL fields is to remain 
> so strict, I really see little point in this input type being validated 
> at all; as a developer there is absolutely no way I can use this 
> validation as it stands, the potential for a poor user experience is 
> just too evident.

The spec expects browsers to convert "www.example.com" to 
"http://www.example.com/" automatically so that this kind of issue 
doesn't occur.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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