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In most design experience guides there is a recommendation to make all input fields the same size. However, I have a big field, and then smaller ones, like title, start date, and end date, where date fields don't looking good when stretched.

What would be a more user-friendly arrangement for these fields?

I tried different arrangements, but none of them look user friendly to me... it also seems a bit boring...

screen shot of four input fields - title, from date, to date and a large text entry area

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The size of the input field should visually present the length of the data the user is asked to put in.

If you're asking for a date, no reason to have 300px wide input box, it will only confuse the user when the text to input is only 10 characters (~80px -100px). Same with postal codes, and other "short" data.

No need to make the user think "do I really need to fill this whole field".

And with dates it's good to use date pickers as @Chairman Meow said, and/or probably show the format in which the date is wanted (yyyy-mm-dd or or something else).

And last but not least: shouldn't put labels inside the input fields, if the label disappears while you activate the field... "what was I suppose to fill in now?"

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They look pretty good now. The only improvement I can think of is the start/end date fields. Instead of asking the user to manually input the start/end date, provide them with a date picker so users don't need to guess the date format:

enter image description here

Also, you could rearrange the start/end date fields vertically like in the image above instead of horizontally which is harder to use because the mouse needs to travel further and the dates are further apart which could make it harder to read.

A note about input fields being same size, I think that depends on the scenario. For example, I don't see why a zip code input field should be the same length as address input field.

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Nice post, thanks! input are already date-pickers, I just didn't add buttons yet – Arsen Mkrtchyan Mar 4 '14 at 22:59

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