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Im making an application form on a website to work on desktop and mobile. The form is quite long. For the mobile version, the client is asking for auto-scroll to the next field once you've finished filling in a field that is at the bottom of the screen.

So, imagine the form has 15 text boxes, but only 3 fit on the screen when you first land. Then imagine you get to the third box, which is at the bottom of the screen. They want the screen to auto-scroll to the next field, where text box #4 is at the top of the screen, #5 and 6 are displayed. And keep repeating until you've reached the end of the form.

My question is - Is that good practice? to have the screen scroll to the top every few boxes or so. They want it this way so that user doesnt have to scroll themselves. But I dont know whats wrong with scrolling themselves, and I fear a user might be confused why the form is jumping around everywhere. Any thoughts?

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    As an aside, if you do want to implement this, many mobile forms already scroll the textbox up when focused so that the keyboard that pops up isn't blocking it. Perhaps just don't scroll it back down when the keyboard disappears so that filling out a text box will always expose a few more below it. – DasBeasto Aug 21 '17 at 14:36
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I don't think it's necessary as the Tab button on desktop/PC does the task of moving the cursor/focus to the next action and on mobile devices (if coded properly), the Next button appears on the on-screen keyboard.

Like UXfrom12 mentioned very correctly, automatic scrolling may be disconcerting to some users as the movement on the page isn't an expected result of filling out an input field

I'd advise against it

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Ask yourself, on behalf of your users, what are you giving them v's what confusion could be potentially caused by a form taking an action the user may not be expecting?

It's simple enough for the user to scroll with their fingers, given they're already on the screen tapping entries, than implementing an automated action that may cause confusion.

Personally I wouldn't implement this.

  • Thanks. I think it's stupid too. But how do I tell the client this? I think after some point it comes down to "the customer is always right" but I need to push back on it – user2903379 Aug 21 '17 at 13:49
  • Extrapolate the points I'm made above. The middle mouse wheel + real-estate caters for forms on the desktop, the ability to flick-scroll caters for lengthy content on mobile, it was designed this way. They're interfering with the natural action implemented by the mobile OS to cater for a situation that doesn't exist. – DarrylGodden Aug 21 '17 at 13:56
  • @user2903379 You need to ask "Why?" the client wants the form to scroll. Maybe they are having trouble reaching a button or the next input field. Maybe they find that dismissing the keyboard only to invoke it again on the next field too visually distracting. Knowing why will let you decide if it's worth testing a new version and how to judge the success of that test. – Nathan Rabe Oct 20 '17 at 15:39
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Survey Monkey uses it

One argument for this pattern is that SurveyMonkey uses it in their surveys. And as you know they're the biggest online survey company in the world. I'm sure they've thoroughly tested this, so this pattern do have a potential.

survey monkey auto switching questions

However, they show only 1 question at a time, not 2-3.

The auto scrolling pattern advantages:

  • Removes unnecessary clutter from the page
  • Decreases the chance of accidental click on other question:

Taken from mobile optimizations for survey:

Scrolling can cause respondents to inadvertently click on the wrong response option as they try to reach questions towards the bottom of the page.

Disadvantages:

  • If users want to fill in the questions in non-sequential order (question 1, then question 14, then question 4) will make users fight with the auto scroll, therefore it is not suitable.

Give it a go and test it

From my experience I've heard only positive user feedback about this pattern, but the best thing you can do is to test it! Every app has different context, users, and goals, and you should test how this pattern behaves in your application. I would suggest to try it but showing only 1 question at a time in the screen.

  • What if I made a mistake or would like to rethink/review my answer? Maybe it sounds strange, but sometimes I like to click the answers I want to think about before I decide which answer is best. – jazZRo Aug 22 '17 at 8:45
  • @jazZRo Good point.There should some type of navigation so users are able to see other than the currently highlighted answer. Scrolling should be available + some quick links for the questions. T – Kristiyan Lukanov Aug 22 '17 at 9:08

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