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If the number of questions this form asks is fixed by legal/business reasons (it's a loan application form for a bank), what is a good way to break it down into bite sized chunks?

The two options I see are either paged or something like a vertical accordion. Personally I don't like forms that are broken over several pages which take time to load. I also don't like a form that's a mile long.

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5  
See this very useful UX Booth article - uxbooth.com/articles/mobile-form-design-strategies –  JonW Apr 19 '13 at 14:17
    
@JonW Hey, thanks! –  bernk Apr 19 '13 at 14:30
    
accordion is not going to work. when the user will try to go to the 2nd form the 1st will collapse and the user will have to scroll all the way up, or there will be some auto animation that would bring them up... to much moving up and down. I would suggest to keep it opened. then the user can decide if they want to do it over the phone or leave it for later. –  Igor-G Apr 19 '13 at 14:32
    
How about tabs - vertical/horizontal, if the number of tabs are minimal? –  javapirate Apr 19 '13 at 16:49
    
I think the users should't fill out a long form to register. They won't register and you lost both the user and their data. Vmware has the nice trick, that they always have some "new questions" if I download something from them, but the registration was relative simple. :-) –  user38535 Nov 26 '13 at 22:16

4 Answers 4

Group the information fields into categories and put the categories in a multi-page form with a progress indicator/page counter. Every page filled must be persisted to the back-end or cached such that the user can return and finish later.

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Welcome to the UX SE Justjyde! Can you explain why this option is different from Issac's answer? Can you provide any evidence that this method of chunking will work better than others? –  3nafish May 7 '13 at 19:34
    
This method mimics the real life scenario. Imagine you are filling in a multi-page paper form. Once you are done with a page, you shift to the next. However you can return to the previous page and everything will still be there! You can put your form away and return later to finish it up. This method mimics what the user is used to and IMHO she/he will be more willing to accept that. –  Justjyde May 9 '13 at 17:52

I definitely agree that a long form wouldn't go over well, even an accordian style. I'd go with tabs at the bottom for each part with a small check to display if that particular part has been completed.

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Can you elaborate on your answer a bit? It would be even more helpful if you provide a mockup of your suggestion. Why do you believe tabs and a checkbox is better than a long form? –  Charles Wesley Apr 19 '13 at 17:40

You'll actually find that the responses for UI (and your question) is variable and based on both gender and age.

To design a form that will appeal to an older generation, you'll want to avoid peripheral information. This is a design decision that Apple stumbled upon - and with the passing of Steve Jobs, it appears that apple marketing is attempting to capitalize on this "discovery".

So - what is a good way to break it down?

That depends on your demographic.

  • Younger users will be more tolerant to smaller chunks.
  • Older users will interpret smaller chunks as peripheral (and distracting) information.

If reducing application abandonment is the fundamental issue, Good design that is relevant to your key demographic will increase form completion.

If the customers have already committed to the process and it is a mandatory process that just happens to be done online? Then the UX is more than just UI preference.

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I recently designed a form like this that was overwhelming to have so much in one view that it may frighten users and prevent them from signing up— it was a sign-up and software installation wizard.

So I grouped the options / questions into slides. Then have js navigate to the next slide once the previous / current slide's questions were answered.

They were grouped into 2-3 related questions.

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