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I'm helping design a website for a non-profit company and need some help.

The company's audience are mostly uneducated mobile users. Many of them are English as a Second Language. I am wondering what the best way to design a contact form is (with name, phone, e-mail and message)?

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closed as too broad by Charles Wesley, Evil Closet Monkey, Bart Gijssens, Code Maverick, Joshua Barron Jun 17 at 22:53

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There is no 'best' for this particular scenario, but for general mobile form best practices: lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1014 –  DA01 Jun 13 at 20:44
    
Thanks! I've been looking at a lot of articles; I understand there's no 'best', but for those who don't speak or read English very well, would icons be better, or displaying examples with gray text inside an input text box? Clarifying these things would be great, thanks! –  Kiwi Jun 13 at 21:47
    
Changing the layout has likely no bearing on readability of language. Icons alone are likely not sufficient, though could enhance if placed next to the label. Gray text inside an input is typically placeholder text--which serves a different purpose than a label does. –  DA01 Jun 13 at 22:06
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I suggest this to start tympanus.net/Development/MinimalForm and I'd say to translate to the native language but I'm guessing there's a reason behind you not doing this already. –  Deryck Jun 14 at 2:13
    
@Deryck I agree. You should focus on making your form easy to translate into your target languages and localize it for the users with something like flag-links to different translations. For something like form labels, auto-translate should be pretty simple. –  Garet Claborn Jun 14 at 7:30

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I think there's a big distinction between ESL and non-English speakers.

"Name" is undoubtedly one of the first words someone learns when learning a new language, so there should be no concerns there. "Email", if not understood from a language standpoint, can be conveyed by putting an email address in placeholder text. Unless this is the first online form the user has ever filled out I trust they will understand the meaning. The same applies to "Phone Number" - Placing a properly-formatted phone number in the field will tell the user what is expected in that field.

The only tricky one could be "Message", which I actually suspect is most likely to be a "Question". "I have a question" or "What is your question?" is also likely to be understood by someone with an elementary understanding of English.

If your users are typically native speakers of the same language you could easily provide English/Native labels. For spanish, it could be "Name/Nombre" "Email/Email" "Phone/Teléfono" "Message/Mensaje" (or "Question/Pregunta")

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