Minimizing invalid emails entered on web forms

If you work with web forms that collect the submitter’s email address, you will find that the email address doesn’t actually work. Sometimes this is intentional on the part of the submitter (“I’m not giving them my email address”), but often it’s just a typo. Hasn’t everyone accidentally typed “@uwatelroo.ca” at some point?

If you are relying on the entered email address to send an automatic reply, and the email address is wrong, the submitter won’t get the email, and the form creator doesn’t get any notification that it didn’t go through. If you have configured the form to send emails to people on your team using the entered address as the “from” address, they won’t be able to reply to the message easily. If you’re pulling the data into an external system – or multiple systems – and the email address is wrong, you’ve now got more places that the email needs to be corrected.

Fortunately, there is a way to set up an email verification field in web forms. This will cut down on the number of “typoed” email addresses, though it can’t eliminate them entirely as some people will merely cut-and-paste. Here’s an example of how you’d set that up:

  1. Add a second email component after your initial email field, marking both as “required”.

Email component fields

  1. Open up the “form validation” tab and add an “equal values” validation rule.

Equal values validation rule

  1. Configure the validation rule by selecting your two email address components, and save the rule.

Rule type configuration

That’s it! Now, if the email address don’t match, an error message will show, and the form can’t be submitted until it’s corrected.

Email validation