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Head to Head

Message Limits

Paypal http://www.paypal.com

Paypal tells me my message is too long and asks me to enter a shorter message. Unfortunately, the site waits until after I submit my entry with too much text before even telling me a limit exists.

Then, the site neglects to tell me the actual limit. The only choice I have is to guess. I remove a few words and submit the text again. Still too much. I remove a few more words and try again. Still too much. Finally, I give up.

Figure 4.16Figure 4.16

SprintPCS http://www.sprintpcs.com

SprintPCS tells me there is a limit of 160 characters for messages. As I start typing, the number in the "Remaining Characters" box counts down to zero. When I hit the maximum, the site prevents me from entering more text and displays a JavaScript alert that says, "Maximum message length reached. Your message has been truncated at 160 characters."

What's nice is that SprintPCS is upfront about the maximum message length and clearly tells me the limit. The helpful countdown feature also gives me instant feedback on how much additional text I can type. Finally, the site stops me when I reach the text limit and tells me why. This approach prevents mistakes and keeps messaging quick and efficient.

Figure 4.17Figure 4.17

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