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There are quite a few fields to fill in, and I can't make up my mind regarding how should the autocomplete functionality work. I found 2 or 3 other similar questions here, but they didn't help me with this case.

Please ignore UI flaws in the images below. This is the 0.1 alfa version. I'm currently focusing on the UX issues.

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Autocomplete drop-down appears on Line1, Line2, City, Postal Code, Country, Abbreviation. User may also type in whatever he wants in each field.

When an item is selected in that dropdown, the rest of the fields should fill up (depending on which field has the content assist, e.g. Line 1 fills up everything else; City fills up Country and Abbreviation).

Question: Should selected proposals replaces values that already exist in the other fields? Wouldn't that be annoying/confusing for the user?

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What are you using for autocomplete reference data, postal reference files or previous data captured from users? –  rlb Dec 8 '13 at 18:57
    
@rlb Previous data captured from users, altough I think this is a bit irrelevant. –  GGrec Dec 8 '13 at 18:58
    
Welcome to the site, @GGrec! You appear to be asking three different questions. That doesn't work very well for a Q&A site, where answers addressing different questions could get voted to the top. Please consider editing your post to ask one question. If you want to ask others, put them in separate posts. –  3nafish Dec 8 '13 at 19:32
    
@3nafish Hello. I am familiar with the StackExchange policies, although I didn't want to ask duplicates. I modified my question. Cheers! –  GGrec Dec 8 '13 at 19:39
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3 Answers 3

It should not.

The user counts on you that you do not change his input behind his back.

As the user continue to the next field, his focus is now on that only field. Though the fields may be visually close to each other, he might not pay attention that you've changed his previous input. Not to mention that you got it right saying it might annoy him even if he did pay attention to it. Now, you can say, "Ok, I will notify the user for the changes I've made" and then you end up notifying the user for changes you should no have done in the first place.

Leave it as is, one field at a time. You can perform validations on the overall input once the user clicks the 'Apply' or 'Next' button. This is the method Amazon is using to validate addresses:

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Good example. This is what Amazon does too. @GGrec, you should always take a look at what others are doing firstly before attempting something new. Amazon is a great place to start! –  Majed Dec 10 '13 at 16:32
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To answer your question, no they should not override. My recommendation is to have a separate field where they type in the part of the address to match, which will then fill in the address -- or they type in the address manually. Example:

Type part of an address already in your address book to fill in the fields below
[___________________________________] 

or
Start typing a new address:
Line 1: [____________________________________]
Line 2: [_____________________________________]
etc.
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It looks like you have plenty of room at right side of the form. Is it an idea to place suggestions there with an option to accept them? Something like this:

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It is not the most pretty example but I hope you get the idea. If you have grouped form elements you can repeat the "Accept all" button for every group.

EDIT: It's also possible to turn the idea around. When a suggestion overwrites a user's value give him or her the opportunity to undo that action:

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I like you're thinking, because you're doing it like a programmer, like myself. But there are too many clicks to be made. The point is to trim down the number of clicks the user has to make. –  GGrec Dec 10 '13 at 8:47
    
That's because I'm a programmer I guess ;-) I agree that there are too many clicks involved, that's why I mentioned splitting up the form into multiple groups with each it's own "Accept all" button. –  jazZRo Dec 10 '13 at 9:18
    
I added a new idea to the old one because it seemed to concern you that users will click the accept button for a lot but not all suggestions. Am I right? That's why I turned the idea around and let them undo some changes after the auto complete. –  jazZRo Dec 10 '13 at 9:43
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