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Re^2: Split first and last names

by Bod (Priest)
on Nov 12, 2022 at 23:26 UTC ( #11148162=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Split first and last names
in thread Split first and last names

If you insist on storing data labelled as first name and last name then the best plan is to ask the person for those data items as separate fields (ie. change your web form).

As a marketer first and a programmer second and a DBA third, the form will not be changing! The reason is simple - more people fill in the form when we ask for the name as a single field than if we ask for it in two or three parts.

We've tested pretty much every combination and found (for our audience) that the optimal form uses placeholders, not labels. It has three fields on the initial page which are labelled

Your Name Your Phone (optional) Your Best Email
If we need extra information (we rarely do) then we ask for it after we have captured the key details and stored them safely.

As for the database storage...
We store name information as follows:

prefix firstname middle name(s) nickname lastname preferred firstname preferred fullname suffix

The problem I see with storing the full name as they type it into a web form into the database is that we need to use both their full name (in an email to field perhaps or on the front of an envelope) but just their firstname in the salutaion. So we have to split it somewhere and, to my mind, it's best to do this early in the process - i.e. before storing it.

We have discussed adding a separator component for terms like von but we have so few in our databse that we currently treat them as part of the lastname

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Re^3: Split first and last names
by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop) on Nov 13, 2022 at 05:13 UTC

    we need to use both their full name (in an email to field perhaps or on the front of an envelope) but just their firstname in the salutation

    Bod, though I know nothing of your (superb) business, it won't stop me from offering some free advice.

    If you're politely allowing them to enter anything their heart desires in the "Your Name" field -- and further assuming you're not being overwhelmed by a huge volume of registrations -- how about simply storing their preferred "Your Name" in your database ... and then later manually editing your new registrations, checking for goofs (and rude Turkish words) ... but also to manually enter a nice "salutation" field.

    Parsing human names is one niche where I suspect humans still outperform computers, as I discovered years ago when my company sent out a letter to "Dear Captain Cruises" after the computer program incorrectly derived a salutation from Captain Cook Cruises. :-)

      offering some free advice

      Free advice is always welcome. And given the giver, it will be taken very seriously...

      Your suggestion seems the most sensible. There are occasions when we get upwards of 100 new registrations in a day but those are very rare days. So the volume of data could easily be manually verified. The only issue being an automated email immediately after registration in many cases. Perhaps I need to anonymise that one.

      It's actually more complex still because we hold people's pets' names in our database and send some emails as Dear Eyespop and Fido. Plus, we add the dog's name into the body content. But it has to make sense when the name is present and when it is missing.

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