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We're working on a site that requires the user to login to use. We designed a sparse login page with a large login form. Akin to Gmail:

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This seems to be the trend as of late. And it makes sense for a lot of reasons.

  • clear focus on tasks
  • easy targets to hit/interact with
  • ideal for mobile

It's been brought up that the rest of the forms we use on the site don't necessarily follow this 'large field' style that the login form has.

I think this is fine, it's perfectly valid to have different patterns for different forms, and I think the reasons above are more than enough to justify it, but like many projects we deal with, we inevitably get asked to show research to justify it. (I know, 'ugh')

So, I ask: Does anyone know of any usability testing research that shows there are valid reasons for the 'large login' pattern other than it being purely subjective preferences?

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I don't know of any particularly valid reason to not have large form fields...larger everything (buttons, text, fields...) has been a trend. Even ignoring mobile it improves readability and clickability and reduces margin of error. IMO small form fields need justification, not vice versa. –  Ben Brocka Oct 10 '12 at 0:44
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2 Answers

It's been brought up that the rest of the forms we use on the site don't necessarily follow this 'large field' style that the login form has.

If it’s been brought up by your customers, you’d better listen to what they have to say. Probably they like the simplicity of it and want to implement it on other forms as well. But I assume your real problem is that the other forms have more input fields, radio buttons and check boxes which makes some of the forms too large to show all at once in customer screen?!

If that’s the case, then this is your point of argument. “You will not be able to visually validate all the fields before submission” which is bad User Experience. Users need to be able to validate what they do – at all times. Thus you need to implement a guide, dividing the long form into several views, which is even worse.

But if that’s not the case, you’re out of argument, I’m afraid. But I agree to the fact that different actions can have different looks, even if it’s more consistent implementing the same style across the site. Unless you have any luck finding a research article supporting your argument – you need to address what your customers say, even if they are internal customers. More work, yes – but treat it as a change request, and you’ll make a dollar or two in the process.

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Large login forms are better than short ones because they allow the users to type all the characters without having to scroll right or left.

One use case:

I have two email account with same name.surname but different domain, for example: teddy.partridge@hotmail.com and teddy.partridge@gmail.com

In this case if Im Chrome user and click twice in the form field I can populate lasts emails that Ive used before in forms. If the form is too small and I select the wrong email, I have to scroll right to see the domain of the email...

Theres a study out there that shows which is the best size for a search box, and most of the online shops studied go from 20 to 29 characters lenght, so they recommend the search box be at least 27 characters wide but if you take a look at the 50 to 59 characters wide sites you can see there three samples of awesome usability: Amazon, Staples, and Buy.com, this information is really usefull for you

http://www.smileycat.com/miaow/archives/002015.php

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