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I'm using ellipsis in titles to ask the user. Something like this:

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I have also this alternative (more traditional):

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What do you think is the most intuitive for the user? Do you have another alternative?

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Just curious, but why are you using Color and Brand vs Year, Make, Model, Color? –  Code Maverick Jan 28 at 17:23
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Use the ellipsis as a word teaser, when the next word would complete the sentence. In your example "I have a car color black" doesn't read right. –  Sam Jan 29 at 13:09

5 Answers 5

up vote 25 down vote accepted

I don't think this is about user intuition - it's much more about writing style and conventions.

The norm in forms is that the heading serves a category label to the adjectives/nouns below. So Car Features should do the trick here.

Another norm is to use imperative statements, but mostly for interactive controls (not labels), still you could also phrase it Choose car features.

I don't see much sense in "I have a car..." - it just doesn't tightly link to what's below and a clear misuse of this mark (and reminds too much of Martin Luther King).

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Adding to what Izhaki said, simply saying "I have a car..." doesn't instruct what action the user needs to take. "Features of my car" is a little closer but still feels like it's lacking. Try "What is the make/model of your car" as it's instructing the user what action to take clearly. –  Courtney Jordan Jan 28 at 14:25
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You mean "imperative". "I have a car" is active voice. Passive voice would be something like, "A car is being had..." –  David Conrad Jan 28 at 17:45
    
@DavidConrad - Not sure "imperative" is the right word, I meant to say action-based statement. Let's leave it for the community to decide. –  Izhaki Jan 29 at 0:13

I don't see anything wrong with using a partial sentence ending in an ellipses as a user prompt if the answer you're asking the user to input is a natural ending to the sentence fragment in your label.

As you currently have it, the prompt and answers don't make a proper sentence:

I have a car... blue Toyota

Compare that with:

My car is a... blue Toyota

Now it works.

To make it work even better, the labels and input should be arranged such that they look like one continuous sentence when filled in. So, all on one line, similar font size, that sort of thing. You could even leave the ellipsis out altogether, and string the sentence together ("Mad Libs style", as @aslun puts it).

My car is a [colour] [style] made by [brand] in [model year].

But of course, you also have to think about your audience. The above is somewhat casual, conversational, and might feel too simplistic for some users who would be more comfortable with a standard form structure:

Vehicle Description:
Brand: [__________]
Year: [__________]
Colour: [__________]
Style: [__________]

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Why not use ellipsis to ask the user?

When you end the sentence with an ellipsis, it looks like part of the sentence is missing.

Ellipsis is mostly used to show the user the sentence is cut of.

Here is an example of a question were the ellipsis is correctly used: Best aesthetically solution to overflowing data in a table

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You could always use a Mad Libs style:

I drive a [Color v] [Brand v].

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Then it will be like a real conversation. Nice one –  myradon Jan 28 at 16:54
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NB: Don't do this kind of thing if you need to localize your text other languages. The different sentence structures will mess you up. –  Duncan Matheson Jan 28 at 22:40
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Jessica Enders at Formulate has done A/B testing on these Mad Libs-style forms and demonstrated a whopping 22% decrease in conversion rates for some kinds of forms. Interestingly, the example she gave of when it can be appropriate was basically exactly this one (car insurance). –  Kit Grose Jan 28 at 23:00

Disclaimer: without more info as to what this is regarding, it's hard to say for sure. The following is based on gut feel.

"I have a car..." feels more appropriate when it's contrasted with other sections, like "I have a motorcycle..." or "I have a bus...", perhaps with a top heading of "What kind of vehicle do you own?" That makes it easy to find the section relevant to this particular type of vehicle being entered.

If it's just a general heading, I'd go with "About my car" or just "My car". Color, make (not brand) and model are generally not considered "features", as "features" has a specific meaning in the auto industry.

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