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We have a longish form to fill. After first step, we know that some a particular user is already registered. The rest of the form is already filled in, but we still need her to validate the data. Which is the best way?

  • non editable blocks (several fields) with "edit" buttons
  • non editable fields that change to editable inputs when clicked
  • editable fields
  • other?
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Thank you for your answers. After thinking this through: editable, filled fields are best for low number of fields and high chance of being actually edited. Non editable that becomes editable on click is best for readability, big number of fields, and low probability of changes. The control to make them editable is another thing. It can be explicit or more like a "hint". I hate the clutter of an "edit" button next to each field, so I prefer the "hint" way. If there are groups of fields, it is easier because you only need a control for each block. –  luna1999 Nov 23 '12 at 10:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Since the main thing you want the user to do is to simply check and validate the information (they may not need to make any changes) I would suggest you present it as non-editable blocks with "edit" buttons which either take the user off to a page to edit that section or, preferably, switch to the editable form view on the same page.

The benefit of showing it as non-editable blocks rather than in a form is that you have greater control over how the data is displayed, and can adopt a format that is more compact and easy to scan without the distraction of form fields, labels and controls.

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Not only that, but it's almost certainly much easier for users to scan text for accuracy if it appears in blocks on a plain background than if it were all in different text fields (lots of visual noise to navigate, detracting attention from the task of checking whether the information is correct). –  finiteattention Nov 21 '12 at 11:29

I believe that editable fields are the best way for the user, if the user spots few mistakes they would be able to fix it without clicking extra buttons. Thus increasing Conversion Rate. And everybody hates forms: Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

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