It was probably a decade before signage was changed across the country to reflect the changes.
Then, of course, there was the enormous and unprecedented growth in mobile.
You can use a single element to collect a number: Browser support is pretty good (e.g.
Chrome 6 , Firefox 4 , Safari 5 , IE 10 ), but even in an older browser it will simply fall back to a plain old text field.
First though, let’s look at the issue of collecting telephone numbers. However, because of the issues around the variations in format, it doesn’t actually place any restrictions on what the user can type, nor does it perform any validation in the same way as, say, the email element.
Nevertheless, there are some advantages – when used on a mobile site a user’s telephone keypad will usually be displayed, rather than a conventional keyboard layout.
For example if you operate in a single country, and telephone numbers are captured to be used by a human operator, you might not need them.
But for anything remotely automated – such as sending SMS messages – or to validate them effectively, you’ll need to capture the country prefix.
From abroad, to call a UK number you need to drop the leading zero and prefix with the dialing code 44: Thankfully, there is a format we can use which enable us to get around these variations.
Luckily for developers there is an unambiguous, internationally recognized standard for telephone numbers anywhere in the World called E.164.
It’s often important to capture a number’s international dialing code.
In some cases, the context might mean they aren’t required.
New classifications of numbers introduce new numbering systems – premium-rate, local-rate, toll-free, and so on.