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Cognitive Accessibility Design Pattern: Accept different input formats

User Need

I need inputs to accept different formats and not mark them as mistakes.

What to Do

Accept all format variations in text inputs for values such as currency, time zone, locale, address, or credit card number.

How it Helps

Forgiving form entry processes help the user fill out forms, without an overwhelming amount of errors. They can avoid asking for help when errors cause them problems. This reduces frustration while enhancing the user’s autonomy and independence.

This benefits anybody with a learning and cognitive disability or age related forgetfulness. It will also help anyone who is used to a different format.

For example, a user with age related forgetfulness enters their phone number with hyphens inserted. They receive an error message, because the system does not accept that format. They wonder if they have forgotten their phone number or made a different mistake. They stop trying to use the form.



  1. Platform facilities for flexible input types and validation.
  2. Research and support for different formats that might be entered, including international variations.
  3. Minimal required fields.
  4. Flexible input fields that accept different formats. For example, an input field that accepts:
    • various currency symbols,
    • a credit card number with or without spaces,
    • telephone numbers as written in many regions, including country code, region code, and number using optional brackets, and
    • international characters such as those with accents.


  1. Restricting entries to arbitrary lengths.
  2. Insisting on specific separator characters if they are not required and can be ignored.
  3. Input fields that do not accept the format that the user may use. For example:
    • Forcing users to use a specific currency value that they may not be their currency.
    • A credit number field that requires no spaces even though cards have numbers printed with spaces.
    • Telephone number field will not accept + codes or brackets.

User Stories and Personas

User Story



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