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For a website that sells things, it's often needed to fill in a lot of information. When it comes to these types of forms you want the user to complete which one is the best?

  • A single form with all the fields a user needs to fill out
  • A multi step form, where each step is simple, and fits a normal screen

Have you any experience or tests about the above?

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possible duplicate. Not the exact same question but basically the same answers ui.stackexchange.com/questions/9/… –  Sruly Aug 11 '10 at 23:22
    
@Sruly it's not a duplicate, question is completely different. Here we need to find out a pros and cons for single form and wizard. There we need to make wizard more usable. –  Max Gontar Aug 12 '10 at 5:17
    
An accordion is a nice compromise. That answer points out testing which shows accordions beating multi-page wizards. –  Brian Oct 1 '12 at 19:06

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Use wizard when:

  • have ability to split process in well balances wizard steps collect and
  • process data from previous step to use in next step
  • want to complete and save some steps, to restore after cancelling

Live examples: iPage domain registration

Use form when:

  • can put everything on single page without a mess
  • can't split process due to technical issues (ex. we need to have user credentials and email in single step)
  • will be better for performance

Live examples: Google Mail account registration

Also, consider to use Intelligent form

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There are definitely tradeoffs to each. A multi-step form will give the user a feeling of less complexity, and reduce the amount of information the user needs to process at once. A single form is easier to go back and edit stuff on and presents the user with an overview of everything they need to know.

In general, I prefer multi-step, but I haven't seen a study on it. Just remember if you do choose multi-step to allow the user to go back and edit their previous entries easily, and make sure the back and forward buttons work as expected and preserve contents (and, ideally, don't pop up wierd messages to the user about resubmitting, though this may be unavoidable).

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Just make sure if you do multiple pages to have a progress bar. Because, everybody likes to see when it ends. So, if your not going to implement a progress bar I would use a single page. Just because it gives the user a sense of when its going to stop. If the user has no sense of when its going to stop they're going to quit potentially mid way through.

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I think the point is that a form with lots of fields is some how distracting. break it into some simple steps cause the user to concentrate on the fields in each step. also it is a good practice to use wizards or multi-step forms when you need previous answers for setting up fields coming later in the form.

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I wonder if sites shift from multi-step wizards to full-page entry after a user has become aquainted with their system and has already setup shipping and credit card information?

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