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Instructions Should Be Written Where I Will See Them

I mentioned a few days ago (This Field is Really Really Required) that you don’t need to mark every required field if they make up the majority of the fields.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t point out that all of the fields are required.

This form for a contest for some Quebec hotel does include an instruction that “you must fill in all of the boxes before the form can be sent,” (“all fields required” would be easier…), but they don’t show that instruction until you’re two thirds of the way through the form.

I'm not sure if all of the fields are required or not.

Add to that the potential confusion with the email invitations below – are they also required?

For kicks, I submitted the form without my address filled in (green box in the image above), and I left the email invitations blank too.

Boom. Pop up error message.

Error messages in pop ups are bad. Don't do this. Ever.

Pop ups are bad. Not just because they’re a PITA, but because the form filler-outerer then has to remember what the errors were when they close the pop up.

Side note: I remember being told a story about Vietnamese helicopters (or helicopters during the Vietnam War or something like that) that had emergency instructions printed on the inside of the door. If the pilots needed to eject, the instructions told them what to do. The first step was “Remove door and discard”… well of course once you do that you no longer have the instructions… you get my drift, and if you know the actual story please let me know.

Anyway, I have to remember that my address is missing, and they don’t highlight the field where the error occurred.

And apparently the email invites aren’t required.

My point here is that they should have put the original “all fields required” instruction at the top of the form so that it fell in my visual path, and they should mark the email invites as optional.

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  1. […] that you don’t need to mark every required field if they make up the majority of the fiel Link – Trackbacks Posted in User experience (UX) | Permalink. ← Great new resource by […]

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