Naming Conventions in Web Forms

A List Apart:

Tests like the SAT and ACT insist that you fill your name out exactly as it appears on your identification documents. But when I wrote the hyphen in my surname—Gonzalez-Cameron—it would throw back an error, or I would run out of space. Either way, I could not make the information on the form match my documents.

Something I (as a white, English-speaking American) hadn’t thought about before: naming conventions around the world aren’t at all the same as what I’m used to. Amongst the population of the United States, even, they can vary greatly, as the article demonstrates with the convention used by a lot of the Hispanic-American populace. As a designer and developer, it’s important to be able to deal with names (and other input) that doesn’t match the cultural norms you’re used to. The world is a big place.


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