Forms design / labels inside the fields

9 Feb 2010 - 5:13am
4 years ago
11 replies
2634 reads
Maciej Bieganski
2010

Hi,

In the company I'm working with a discussion has just been started;

TOPIC: Whether placing a labels inside the fields is a good idea or
not. This pattern is spreading recently (i.e. facebook) a lot.

Personally, I'm not supporting this idea for many reasons
(accessibility, patterns in an eye fixation on form elements etc).

Though, I'd like to avoid religious debate on this issue and follow
up with some objective studies and/or research.

Have you analyzed this issue before or seen some interesting
findings? User studies?

Comments

9 Feb 2010 - 5:32am
Nathanael Boehm
2008

Hi Maciej,

We had this discussion over at UX Exchange a few months back
(http://uxexchange.com/questions/309/form-field-inside-labels-usability-and-accessibility)
and in response I put together a prototype interaction pattern for
form labels inside fields that displayed the label underneath the
form field when the cursor was in the field and reinstated it if the
user cleared the field or left it blank. Also provided for alternate
styling for displaying labels vs user data inside the field.
Accessible too, though being a prototype could use some work:

http://sandpit.purecaffeine.com/text_in_form_field.html

Cheers,

Nathanael Boehm

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9 Feb 2010 - 6:09am
William Hudson
2009

Maciej -

We just had a long discussion on virtually (but not quite) the same
topic here on IxDA. Look for '"help text" in input fields - bad?'

Regards,

William Hudson
Syntagm Ltd
Design for Usability
UK 01235-522859
World +44-1235-522859
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OX14 2DS.

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-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Maciej Bieganski
Sent: 09 February 2010 03:13
To: discuss at ixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Forms design / labels inside the fields

Hi,

In the company I'm working with a discussion has just been started;

TOPIC: Whether placing a labels inside the fields is a good idea or
not. This pattern is spreading recently (i.e. facebook) a lot.

Personally, I'm not supporting this idea for many reasons
(accessibility, patterns in an eye fixation on form elements etc).

Though, I'd like to avoid religious debate on this issue and follow
up with some objective studies and/or research.

Have you analyzed this issue before or seen some interesting
findings? User studies?
________________________________________________________________
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9 Feb 2010 - 5:35am
Etienne Maujean
2009

Do you know LukeW studies ? Well, you should take a look at these.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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9 Feb 2010 - 7:49am
Chris Korhonen
2010

I'm not aware of any specific research on the issue - I know LukeW has covered it briefly on his blog:

http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?687

I'd also be interested if someone has done any research on the topic.

Chris

On Feb 9, 2010, at 3:13 AM, Maciej Bieganski wrote:

> Hi,
>
> In the company I'm working with a discussion has just been started;
>
>
> TOPIC: Whether placing a labels inside the fields is a good idea or
> not. This pattern is spreading recently (i.e. facebook) a lot.
>
> Personally, I'm not supporting this idea for many reasons
> (accessibility, patterns in an eye fixation on form elements etc).
>
> Though, I'd like to avoid religious debate on this issue and follow
> up with some objective studies and/or research.
>
> Have you analyzed this issue before or seen some interesting
> findings? User studies?
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Reply to this thread at ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49165
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

9 Feb 2010 - 8:36am
jasonrobb
2009

Here's an interesting approach to implementing help text within the
field with jQuery: http://www.csskarma.com/blog/sliding-labels/

Best,

Jason R.
http://jasonrobb.com.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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9 Feb 2010 - 9:01am
Cwodtke
2004

I have seen two issues
1. in AB testing, text form field in the form reduces usage of field. Theory
is, it reduces the fields recognizably as a field. Test, test, test.
2. on slower connections, the javascript library frequently loads last
(occasionally fails) so you get the issue Luke outlines, i.e. when you type
the text stays.
I have had this happen to me over and over again on Netflix, which has one
of the world's great javascript ninjas, Bill Scott so don't
blame the javascript. It may work perfectly at work, but nto at home.

On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 5:49 AM, Chris Korhonen <ckorhonen at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm not aware of any specific research on the issue - I know LukeW has
> covered it briefly on his blog:
>
> http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?687
>
> I'd also be interested if someone has done any research on the topic.
>
> Chris
>
> On Feb 9, 2010, at 3:13 AM, Maciej Bieganski wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > In the company I'm working with a discussion has just been started;
> >
> >
> > TOPIC: Whether placing a labels inside the fields is a good idea or
> > not. This pattern is spreading recently (i.e. facebook) a lot.
> >
> > Personally, I'm not supporting this idea for many reasons
> > (accessibility, patterns in an eye fixation on form elements etc).
> >
> > Though, I'd like to avoid religious debate on this issue and follow
> > up with some objective studies and/or research.
> >
> > Have you analyzed this issue before or seen some interesting
> > findings? User studies?
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Reply to this thread at ixda.org
> > http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49165
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

9 Feb 2010 - 1:28pm
Gayatri N
2009

Maciej,

Like other have said before, we had a similar discussion recently and
here is the link:

http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=49122

-Gayatri

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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9 Feb 2010 - 1:56pm
Julie Strothman
2008

A few more things to consider:

What if you click on the label, hit the spacebar, and the phone
rings. When you come back, will you know what the field was for? Will
you need to refresh and lose the other data you had already entered?

A person who is blind may tab through all of the fields to see if
they%u2019re willing to fill out the form. For any fields where they
start typing, when they go back through the form to fully fill it
out, the labels will be gone.

What if the person entered something unreadable, for example their
fingers were shifted on their keyboard and they hadn%u2019t noticed?
How will you know what the question was?

What if you%u2019re on a touch device and you fat-finger the field
before you read it?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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9 Feb 2010 - 2:10pm
Maciej Bieganski
2010

@Julie - good points.

@All - Thank you for your comments.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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10 Feb 2010 - 3:45am
Francis Rowland
2009

Hi Maciej

Everyone had given you good feedback already, but just to stick my
oar in...

>From what I have read and seen demonstrated with eye-tracking
heatmaps (but not from first-hand experience), label placement inside
text boxes can cause a bit of trouble. People often look for labels to
the left of a text box, for example, so it might be weird when it
isn't there. Plus, and form element that appears to me completed
already can sometimes be ignored (in fact, thinking about it, I have
seen that in a test).

However, you or I probably wouldn't be deterred by that kind of
label placement, so it depends on experience. As Christina says, test
test test.

Jarrett and Gaffney have some really good stuff on forms in their
book, too. I think they would say that if the form is well design
overall, and the user is engaged in a "dialogue" with the form,
then the label placement is not such a big deal...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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17 Feb 2010 - 8:19am
Ania Powers
2010

Recently, I was trying to find someone on Facebook, I typed his name
in the textbox, but... whatever the reason was, as a result I
received a bunch of people who's last name was Search...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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