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I recently raised an issue with my team about having two input areas on the screen using two similar terms that might cause confusion to the user. On the screen there is a field to enter comments and right below that we have another field labeled "Quality/Feedback" which to me implies "Quality" / (or) "Feedback".

Well that's the issue I raised, Comments and Feedback are very similar and simply removing the "/" and committing the bottom field to "Quality Feedback" would help differentiate which field should be used when.

This is incorrect right? Or am I crazy? I raised this issue on another section where we have two fields next to each other one called "Notes" and the other "Comments"...

mockup

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Any feedback to help justify against this would be greatly appreciated :)

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To give better context to this question, this is an internal product used by doctors to order tests (there is a lot more UI on the screen) and both fields are optional, but if there is a quality concern they are supposed to use the "Quality/Feedback" for their comments and not the "Comments" section, and vise versa. I don't think that is clearly implied when you have the "/" in there meaning that field can also be used for "Feedback" –  bfritz Jun 20 '13 at 23:20
    
Can you go into more detail as to what the difference is between the fields. I think in explaining that, you may come to an answer. My guess is that the two fields just need much more descriptive and clear labels. As they are now, I don't think most people would understand what the difference between 'feedback' and 'comments' would be. Both fields need a lot more context, IMHO. –  DA01 Jun 21 '13 at 5:58

2 Answers 2

I think your main problem here is that those fields are not necessarily exclusive.

I don't see how 'Comments' is any different from feedback, and while both are broad terms, comments is definitely more vague. Without knowing your product, I'd assume what you really want to get from users is the quality feedback, and the comments are an addition to that. If that's the case, the order should probably be inverted and the latter made optional (if they are not both so).

But I also think you have a 'bigger' problem, and that's the lack of instructions. If I find myself looking at those fields, I wouldn't know what to write... and would probably not write anything at all, or would write something terribly vague.

So I believe you definitely need some guidance for the feedback in order to make it a useful element. Feedback stars a great way of doing this, because you are asking the user to rate the service/products using something highly visual and familiar. You can add an input for details below the stars. See this example:

enter image description here

Image source

Having chosen a rating (you can also have a tooltip saying what each star means, from 'not good' to 'excellent' going through 'meh'), it'd be much easier for th euser to explain why he/she has chosen that number.

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Completely agree on lack of instruction. –  Jung Lee Jun 21 '13 at 2:29

I would question why there are two comment fields in the first place. You're essentially making users do the work of separating comment types, so you don't have to.

So it would be best if you just display one that is more important, which I assume is the Quality field. And if user is compelled to write additional comment that's non-quality related, then so be it.

However, if it is critical that you list out both fields, then as per Yisela's suggestion, more important one should come first.

But I would consider re-designing the form, so that the user has to explicitly acknowledge if he/she has quality concerns by specifying Yes/No. If answer is Yes, then open a "Detail" field below.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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