User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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)?

share|improve this question

closed as too broad by Charles Wesley, Evil Closet Monkey, Bart Gijssens, Code Maverick, Joshua Barron Jun 17 '14 at 22:53

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There is no 'best' for this particular scenario, but for general mobile form best practices: – DA01 Jun 13 '14 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 '14 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 '14 at 22:06
I suggest this to start 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 '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 '14 at 7:30
up vote 0 down vote accepted

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")

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.