The software I'm working on is currently presenting some discrepancies in terms of wording and fields. At some places, we are asking for the First and Last Name in two separate fields and on some other places we just ask to input the name (full name) of the user you want to invite, so if the user wants he can simply provide John and not John Smith, we will not constraint him.

On some places where we show the two fields, First and Last name, it is even more "silly". On one page we will constraint the last name field and require it and on another place we don't

I personally believe that it is more convenient to just have a Full name or just Name field everywhere instead of two fields (reduce the clicks and gives more flexibility)

What's your opinion on that topic and what is the common practice on software that are not requiring the complete name from a user?


It depends on what you are willing to achieve and what the location of your user base is.

Remember that in some regions of the world, like Hungary or some parts of Belgium, people when introducing themselves, use the Last name - First name convention. And if you don't know this you may be accidentally calling someone "Mr. John" while Mr. Smiths finds it awkward.

Furthermore, in some other countries, like the Netherlands, many surnames have a prefix (tussenvoegsel). For example, a man called Henk de Boer would have to type "de Boer" in the Last name field and will end up under "D" in the alphabetical index while he should be placed under "B".


  • if you want to gather the users' display names, give them "Full name" field - they will input whatever they find convenient.
  • if you want to reliably collect users' first names and last names separately for some sorting, ask for first name and last name separately.
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    And if they travel from Belgiom to elsewhere they might well keep the same way of saying it. (See Chinese names) – user151019 May 3 '18 at 12:05

The way your question reads gives the impression that these requirements are arbitrary instead of being based on any concrete business requirements.

If you don't need it, don't ask for it.

If the single name in field is sufficient, then just ask for that. If I, as a user, would prefer that your company just know me as "Max", and there's no real need for you to have my last name, then you should be okay with that. Really, that question should be thrown against any data you collect. If there's not a business-critical reason to ask for it, then you don't really have any reason to ask for it.

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