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Do users fill the left column of filelds first or do they use a Z pattern in filling the forms?

Screnshot of form with two columns

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2  
Can we assume the viewport accommodates the form width in full? –  DarrylGodden Jul 8 at 9:56
26  
I fill forms according to tab-order. ;) –  PTwr Jul 8 at 11:40
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Irrespective of reading order, I find the column break right between address and city to be most confusing. It's like inserting a column break between an image and its caption. Also: Your address is lacking a d. –  O. R. Mapper Jul 9 at 6:22
    
This is likely to be substantially affected by the visual design of your form too (the vertical and horizontal spacing of form fields, the placement of labels relative to the inputs, etc.). –  Kit Grose Jul 11 at 5:16
    
Does it matter? –  DA01 Jul 11 at 5:40

3 Answers 3

Rather than focussing on the Z or column pattern, you might want to consider grouping related information. In your example it might be confusing for the user that Address and City are not grouped together.

So you could group the name fields, the address fields (Address, City, Postal Code and Country), the contact fields (E-mail and Telephone) and lastly the password fields (there should be a Repeat Password field).

The grouping idea comes from this extensive usability guide to web forms where you'll find plenty of more ideas to optimise your forms.

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2  
Ooh I've just rated your answer up, this is the answer I would have given if I wasn't rushing, and it simply improves the form, which, as it stands, doesn't flow. –  DarrylGodden Jul 8 at 10:17

Quite simply, you should avoid multi-column forms because people may interpret the form's flow in various ways.

enter image description here

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1  
Check out another thread I started:ux.stackexchange.com/questions/39760/… –  usingtheinternet Jul 11 at 17:20

Each item on each line should relate to one and other.

For example "First Name" and "Second Name" Should be on the same line.

Having columned forms doesn't have a great user experience.

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