I assume this is a big no-go for user experience but I wasn't able to find a question covering this (common) issue.

We are rewriting our desktop GUI and we have to deal with lots of settings / form fields. Some of them include units and I wonder if there is a best practice for dealing with units and labeling them. Right now we put it like this:

enter image description here

What would you recommend doing instead?


3 Answers 3


Recent trends call that technique a Natural Language Form. That field and label appear appropriate to me in given situation; as it doesn't leave any scope of confusion.

I just rearranged the fields to make it look better and usable -

enter image description here

Hope this helps.


Its not a no-go. This pattern is called "natural language form" and in some cases it can even be more effective then normal input forms.

In your example its definitely okay to use this pattern, but as always: consistency is key. If you use this kind of pattern for checks/request then users expect to find this kind of pattern on every other form on your website/application, keep that in mind.

If you want to read about the pattern: https://www.jroehm.com/2014/01/ui-pattern-natural-language-form/

This is a good article.

  • 2
    Are you and DPS the same person? Same answer and article link within 30 seconds of each other. +1 :)
    – Alan
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 12:07
  • 1
    @Alan No. We are not - it's just that great brains think alike ;)
    – Dipak
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 16:17

Beware that this makes translation of the UI more difficult - sentence structure may be different in other languages, and the translator might not have the means to change the UI layout to accommodate.

Also, you run the risk of forming a syntactically-incorrect sentence, like "Check every 1 minutes". If you try to solve this for English (change "minutes" to "minute" when value==1), this solution may not translate well to other languages when different noun are used for different amounts.

For these reasons, globally-translated software such as Windows tends to use non-sentence forms like: Check every (minutes): [ 5_ ]

  • Good point as we definetely plan to localize our software.
    – kentor
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 9:59

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