When creating a form, do you feel that it is more advantageous to mark
the required fields, even if they are in the majority? I ask because
I'm working on some guidelines for a client, and there is some debate
about which way to go with this. After reading Luke Wroblewski's book,
"Web Form Design: Filling In the Blanks", I have to agree with his
sentiment about indicating the MINORITY of the form elements:
FROM 'Web Form Design': "Many times there actually are
good reasons for indicating what is required when updating or creating a
record online. In particular, when a Web form has lots of input fields
but only a few of them are required, indicating what has to be answered
can be quite useful...
"Conversely, indicating which input fields are optional
is useful when most questions require an answer but a few do not.
Neither indicator is particularly useful when the input fields are
either all required or all optional. In these circumstances, indicating
required or optional fields adds unnecessary information to the form
that people then have to pause and consider.
"Similarly, indicating the majority case (most input
fields are required or optional) versus the minority case (just a few
input fields are required or optional) increases the amount of
information that overlies a form."
I am trying to make the argument that in a form where all of the fields
are required, or that 9 of 10 are required, indicating the OPTIONAL
fields makes more sense to the user - they have to take in less
information/aren't as distracted by the numerous red asterisks all over
the form. The other side of the discussion feels that required fields
should ALWAYS be marked regardless of any other factors (even if they
are ALL required).
I'd love to get some feedback and any research other than Luke's to
support one direction or the other. Thanks!
User Experience Lead | D I G I T A S H E A L T H
229 South 18th Street | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA 19103 |
Email: mdeangel [@t] digitashealth [d0t} com | www.digitashealth.com