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Defeat the no match found scenario (28 Dec 2004)
In the past, when a character string was used to identify any type of information (such as an address, confirmation number, building aisle location, name, error message) the uppercase letters O and I were often avoided to bypass the problem.

For example, in my building, the numbering scheme for aisles skips the letters O and I. The hardware layout for most logic cards excludes these letters as did old error messages. I understand that even Carnegie Hall skips aisle I in its seating arrangement.

This practice was developed to avoid confusion; but it has also been ignored to the point that it could be considered an abandoned practice.

First, have you noticed how many fonts are available lately (including the free-to-download versions)? Couple that with the unfortunate fact that many people choose their fonts based on their attractiveness rather than practicality, and you can see how this further compromises overall clarity.

Thousands of fonts are now available and it is easy to select and customize your text layout. With many of these fonts, it is practically impossible to distinguish between an O and 0 or between 1 and I. (At least with more traditional fonts, the zero had a small dot in the center -- or it was narrow while the capital O was wide.

With the Internet, people take for granted that they can search for everything and expect to find a match. Couple that with the growth of Internet users (not just the numbers, but in the range of people with different experience levels), the increase in online transactions, and the population explosion in disparate search engines and search-engine technologies, and it's no wonder that more users get no matches found messages.
Article URL: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-alphanum/

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