## The Digital World is Not Made for Imperial Fractions

^{Updated August 23, 2024}

Writing down a fractional inch measurement on paper is trivial. The same is not true for interacting with a computer. Using fractions on websites is fraught with inconveniences.

Fractions and computers mix like oil and water.

## Online Annoyances

### Imperial fractions muck up the internet:

- Entering a fraction into an
**input field is unpredictable** - You're forced to
**manually convert decimals to fractions**to verify orders - Fractions lead to
**extraneous product duplicates** - Fractions
**break sorting** - Spaces in fractional units inflict
**chaos on search results**

## Tedium of Extra Manual Steps

The kitchen calculator on this website accepts
both decimal and fractional imperial units, but the user interface is awkward and special
instructions are needed.
Without special instructions, users won't even know that fractions are allowed.
This problem crops up in the computerized ordering system for closet doors at
America's largest home improvement retailer.
The problem then snowballs because the system automatically converts fractional inches to
decimal inches, forcing customers to convert decimal inches back to fractions just to
verify the correctness of an order.
Even most imperial zealots don't have the fractional equivalent of
`0.625`

committed to memory.
Regardless, the fake precision of numbers like `0.625`

should offend all decent people.

Even when customers doesn't need to type out fractions, fractions still wreak havoc on
product listings because computers will consider sizes like
`3.5"`

, `3 1/2"`

, and `3 4/8"`

to all be different sizes
when in fact they are all identical.

Fractions also break sorting algorithms.
Computers often consider `1/2`

to be less then `3/16`

because "1"
comes before "3".
Website search tools suffer a related problem.
For example, the space character in `6 3/4"`

tricks computers into thinking the
user might be interested in 6-packs and `3/4"`

drill bits, neither of which
have anything at all to do with the measurement of `6 3/4"`

.

## Stop the Insanity

Many of these problems could be mitigated if software developers were given infinite time
to build perfect websites, but the reality is that dealing with fractions will never be a
business priority.
**Imperial fractions are a waste of money, and business operates on money.**
That will never change.
FULL STOP.