Mark Singletary wrote:
>My point is, a reset button does not "blank" the fields, it restores 
>the fields to their as-loaded condition. It's not used for 
>abandoning the screen, but as a restart of screen entry.  This 
>client-side feature is built into the browsers, and is in fact part 
>of the mozilla standard ( As a basic feature 
>of forms driven UI, it has been around since the very early green 
>screen days.

I find in general that users of all applications (with the possible 
exception of those used by software developers and other Machine 
Oriented Users) are entirely indifferent to the difference between 
blanking the fields and restoring the record to its previous state.

In testing, I nearly always see it either (a) selected by accident 
because of location and causing frustration or (b) used to make sure 
that nothing the user has entered will somehow, magically, makes its 
way into some unknown database somewhere when the page is abandoned.

And as far as its ancient dynastic claims to existence: the fact that 
"reset" has been around since immediately after the punchcard bit the 
big one is not a sufficient reason to keep it around when real people 
are using it. That a thing *can* be done is not a good enough reason 
to continue to do it.

It is true that in enterprise wide applications, where fields will 
often be filled by data derived from other records, it is often a 
good idea to have a clear way to restore fields to previous values. 
However, in these cases, it's important to make sure that only the 
fields which are supposed to be edited are available for editing. 
Fields appearing to provide context should not be editable. And 
there's a great deal more to be said about fields and resetting and 
displaying and editing in that context, none of which I want to get 
into here.

I do have to say, though, that I think this is the first time I've 
seen a Human Factors argument made from the point of view of the 


Katie Albers
User Experience Consultant
310 581 3024

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