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This question already has an answer here:

In forms, some uses only name as one field and some uses first name, middle name and last name, separate field for all. It is increasing number of clicks also then why people use that.

Which practice is good?

marked as duplicate by Charles Wesley, locationunknown, JonW Oct 19 '17 at 7:34

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  • In my experience, this tends to be solely based on business requirements. – maxathousand Oct 18 '17 at 14:52
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In general, it's good practice to keep first-name, middle-name (optional) and last-name for the longer run. Some major reasons behind these are:

  1. Brings in better clarity to the user.

Usually, first-name is used to address the user out of the three sub-fields of the name category. Now if you will keep name as the only field, some people will write full name and some people will be writing nickname etc. Hence specifically mentioning "First-name" helps the user to enter in a more directive way, helping both parties in better addressing. Middle name and Last name are used for more official purposes (mostly requirement dependent).

  1. Smart inputs are a better choice.

The worry of increasing one-two click is far less than creating a dirty database and then trying to put in an algorithm to extract correct results required at later stages.

Conclusion: Think of better UX rather than merging fields.

Instead of merging the fields and picking up a fight with the database guy, try another UX approach for this issue. For example smart forms, which takes a user to the next field after he presses enter. It will save user's time and will also keep the database clean.

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It is better to have the user parse the name fields rather than have the computer guess. So what should the computer do with "John Philip Thomas Smith"? Is the first name "John Philip", the second name "Philip Thomas", or does the computer just drop "Thomas"?

The other point is that the tab-key should jump to the next field. So if you hit a tab-key or a space-key it is the same number of keystrokes for the user.

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