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How a Name Can Break A Website

How a Name Can Break A Website

One of the greatest things about the internet is its ability to be easily accessed by anyone and everyone. But for some users, they’re running into complications because of their name. What’s in a name? Complications apparently.

Some people who have unique or coding-language names are running into problems using some internet sites. For example, Jennifer Null has problems when typing her name into websites, because with “Null,” the site thinks it’s a null response, or rather nothing. And some sites won’t accept nothing as a response. So the site rejects the name entry. Jennifer says that she can’t use many websites so she has to call to book airplane tickets or call to access government services. And Jennifer isn’t the only one. People with really long names or really short names—one letter—struggle to insert their names into websites because the websites aren’t equipped to handle such extremities. So are people going to have to change their names if they want to easily and effectively use the internet? Or can websites work to accommodate these situations?

Why Can’t Websites Handle Problematic Names

People have a wide variety names, and as companies go more global, more of their users are going to have names foreign to their programmers and the systems they programmed. But so far, systems haven’t been designed to take such names. Nor have systems been able to expect names like Null, that mean more than just a person’s name in coding language. And since systems haven’t expecting these name extremities, they haven’t made ways for the systems to work with them. So users are left unable to use sites simply because of their name.

How Systems Can Improve

So when problematic names come up that websites aren’t expecting and can’t handle, what can they do? Systems have to test, update, and change. Systems need to anticipate what and where situations will arise and cause problems and then work within the system to work around those problems. Systems need to be able to accept programming language like “null” as a name, or a really long name, or a one-word full name. And especially as companies become more global, their websites need to be able to handle foreign names.

Since anticipating extremities is difficult for anyone, companies need to work with their users to provide other options until system solutions are available. Such short-term solutions could be telephone assistance, or mail-in applications, or even faxes. These means of processing information have become outdated, but if systems can’t keep up with the increasingly uncommon or edgy names, then companies may need to resort to old ways—for their users sake—until systematic solutions can be found. And companies need to work hard to improve those systems to not lose potential business or online interaction.

Source: BBC

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