My client has a complicated form with multiple steps and stages. At the end of the 'Application' stage there is a summary page where the user is asked to confirm the details they have entered are correct before proceeding into the next stage. This page has links back to each step.

If the user spots a mistake and say changes the answer to a question in step 2, an extra question could appear in step 4.

The current logic is that the 'Continue' button on step 2 would take the user back to the summary page but this time there are errors because the user has not yet answered the extra question.

Posible solution:
I have suggested to remove the current logic and have the user navigate through the form sequentially with errors being captured and corrected as they go. This means when you get back to the summary page there are no new errors.

The client has rejected my recommendation and thinks that at this would scare users away...

Are there any other solutions to this and does anyone know of any data or case studies where similar problems have been explored?

1 Answer 1


Another question (Multiple Page Forms: Validate on every page or only on the last page?) offers some useful thoughts.

I've worked on several projects like this, most notably for the Department of Health in the UK, and approached the problem in two different ways.

On one project, we allowed users to skip freely back and forward through the process, leaving questions incomplete if they wanted, and then displayed validation status on the last page. This worked reasonably well because there was little relationship between each of the fields.

On another project (similar to your situation), where the user's response to one field would determine the state of subsequent fields, we forced users to navigate lineally. If they went back to an earlier step and made a change that would affect subsequent steps, they would have to click 'next' and move through each of the steps. You are increasing the effort slightly by forcing extra clicks but avoiding the risk of very confusing validation states.

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