Identifier usability

Does anyone use a specific subset of letters and numbers when wanting to identify an order, or create a model number etc…

My motive is because if you’re talking, especially on the phone with someone, certain characters sound or even look similar, which causes confusion and mistakes because the receiving person misinterprets what the speaker has said.

Some examples:
o and 0, the letter and the digit. People can’t even consistently read them correctly depending on the font.
s and f, over the phone, these often get mistaken.

On one hand, all digits rarely seem to be mistaken. All digits could be used, but then you need to make the identifier longer in order to get enough uniqueness. Ideally, the identifier would be shorter, so at least some letters would be mixed in. But which ones are good choices?

I would imagine the list of “good letters” would be pretty small. Is there some existing list?

The classic way to solve this in speech is the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, Yankee, Zulu.

Nice, so that’s what they call that.

But, I’m more looking to reduce the need for it in the first place through a carefully chosen alphabet.

Have you considered Roman Numerals (for identifiers), they refer to numerics in the form of a small range of characters I V X M (etc)? It would avoid mistaking them visually for another character - however there’s a steep usability issue in regards to understanding the results. Unless you’re going to resort to the NATO alphabet or associations like “S as in Shark”, you’re going to be using a system which will have little to know user understanding and increase the curve of confusion. :slight_smile: