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I have a long sign up form with 16 fields. I've split that form into 3 steps by data category. User navigates through steps by pressing Back/Forward buttons.

How should I approach the field validations. Should I:

  • validate the field just when the user has finished editing it (or picking a value from the list) or...
  • validate the whole step, when user tries to proceed further?
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I have no studies or data to back this up, but I would prefer you validate at the end of the step. – MikeNereson Nov 29 '11 at 17:10
Just remember that every time a user presses "next" and they get an error message they hate you a little more. – Ben Brocka Nov 29 '11 at 21:21
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Inline validation is the way to go. It provides nearly instantaneous feedback on incorrect or missing information.

Validating once the user tries to proceed further will probably increase abandonment rate.

Imagine the 3 step form process to be a relationship with a person. It is better to solve problems immediately instead of waiting 3 months and go down a laundry list.

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What if user instantly clicks button "continue", without entering any values? Should I disable "continue" button by default? – Eimantas Nov 30 '11 at 18:27
Make sure that all required fields are clearly marked to reduce this problem. If the user still clicks on "continue" you should validate and show which fields are missing info. – Atanasio Segovia Dec 1 '11 at 0:53

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