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As per conversations already on this site such as What's the best placement for an "Other" box I am guessing the answer to this might just be a quick 'Yes' but I figured I would ask!

I have a form which contains several select boxes that allow an option of other, I know normally the way to approach this would be one of the methods mentioned in the linked article, but we really want people to complete the form and I worry that making boxes appear based on user selection will scare off people as they might think the end of the form is now an unknown.

My solution was to give the 'other' option the text 'Other (please specify in comments)', is this a bad idea?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Only if you need the information that would be collected.

Do you really need the information in the "Specify:" box? If not, then you may not need to have the box appear at all. If you're willing to accept that you don't need that information, or if you can design your form so all meaningful choices are represented without needing the "other" option, then you should probably not generate a new form field, on the principle that the fewer fields the user needs to fill out, the better.

On the other hand, if you do want to capture this information, then signalling this to the user with a (please specify) note is probably a good idea, as it will let them know what to expect, and point them at what they need to do next after they select the option.

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If you really want people to fill the "other" form willingly, you could go with a much more positive message instead of a call to action like "(please specify)", something perhaps more "rewarding."

I guess one possible way to do this would be in the form of "green checks and red crosses." Each question answered with a normal select box instead of a normal would have a green check beside it while the ones with the "other" box selected without details would have an orange text with a question mark with a message like "further details would make you awesome" feel. I agree it's not the best choice of phrase but you get the idea.

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