For our company's microsites we have a desire to minimize the number of inputs in our Request Info form to increase engagement and reduce time to complete the form. For the user's name we typically only ask for First and Last Name in two separate fields. The data is later cleaned up in a nightly process so that any prefixes and suffixes entered in those fields gets parsed and moved to appropriate fields in the database.

My question is if the lack of prefix and suffix fields forces some users like "Dr. F. John Doe, Jr." into a dilemma where they worry about how we will handle their name if they put all that into the First and Last name fields. Is it better to clutter up the form with additional name inputs to handle these cases?

I know some companies just use one "Full Name" field, but that gets quite difficult to parse accurately across the board for the data to go into the proper database fields.

2 Answers 2


This would depend on your application. If you're writing about input for legal documentation, then getting the titles and suffixes would be more important than for a simple e-commerce site.

There's some evidence to use as few fields as possible on landing pages, so in general I'd stick to First and Last Name at most, particularly if you're looking to increase engagement or conversions.

Another option is deferring one or more fields until you really need them. For example, it might be possible to just request an email address and allow the user to update their profile later with other fields. Though I'd venture to guess that asking for a first and last name doesn't make them think too hard, so you'd have to see how well it works for your application.

Also note that there are implications for names if your application is meant to reach a non-Western audience. The idea of "First" and "Last" can mean different things in different cultures.


A suffix field is fairly standard on informational forms these days. From a psychological standpoint users are accustomed to seeing and ignoring it if not applicable. Plus it's only several chars, so the footprint on a layout is minimal. In hindsight, if there's any potential future need for a suffix, then you should design for it, and separating the fields (suffix, first, mi, last) is cleaner for the user and your code, not to mention the normalization process.

Long story short, the potential cost and time overhead is not worth the added effort of saving the end user an extra second. If someone has already committed themselves to filling something out, then they won't care about the extra field. Just my two cents, before taxes.

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