Is there any caution not to use the message field at first in a contact form?

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  • 1
    Just do a A/B test and don’t fight against the facts. Keep the data driven mindset.
    – Fabricio
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 2:22
  • It seems to be common practice to ask for the user's details before their message. Most websites use this layout and it seems to be working well so far. Even when you compare it to composing an email (which is exactly what this is ultimately doing), there are often input forms (To, Subject etc.) above the message box. It just seems to be common practice and a lot of people would have developed habits using this layout.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 8:29

4 Answers 4


Well, you could see it from another perspective. Of course the message is the main point of the interaction, but here are a few thoughts on why that doesn't automatically mean it should be placed first:

  • The first argument would be habit. Most internet users (at least in the west) are used to a form as on the right. Reordering it might throw them off. (Comparable to this answer here.)
  • A more interesting point is that the message field is the most important one in terms of effort. If you fill it out first (with a long message that you had to think about and type) and only then the other required fields, you have more room for errors.
    • E.g. I write out my text and only then notice I forgot my email and have to look it up etc. (I know, unlikely, but still)
    • Or I fill it out and only then notice that there is no right topic in the "category" dropdown
    • Or the power goes out while I look for my email or the right dropdown option and I lose my typed text :)))
  • In any case, specifying the technicalities first gives you a feeling of security that everything is ok and you can continue

Of course the points stated here aren't really that realistic and will basically never happen. But it is good to have different perspectives when designing.

Your question is basically "is there any harm in doing it so?", but let's ask it the other way around as well, "what good comes from changing it?".


I would do it with this priority:

Message > Full Name > Email. Look at it from the mental model of people have a message and they type it then they sign their name.

I hope this helps.


Full Name > Email > Message. Don't forget to add mandatory stars to the input fields ;) example

It's almost world standard to ask first name/surname to the user on the contact forms or registration forms. I've attached just one example. If you will google 'contact form examples' You will see also all of them start with the name. This is not a written rule. But All-around world 95% it starts with name.

  • I guess it is a bit hard to know what percentage of forms are using one format/convention over another because as we know Google search results are not unbiased. Also, as you can see there are slightly different perspectives in the answers provided to the question but your contribution certainly adds to the discussion.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 22:17
  • I'm sorry then, Above I mentioned my opinion about what would I do If I were him and supported it with an example. If you need more example you can check your daily uses websites(social media) even in sign up page of this website :) Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 7:29

Think about this from a few prespectives...

As a user:

I probably don't care all that much about my contact information unless there's a requirement for follow-up. So I'd prefer to see the message field first. I may also like to see a select list of subject options so I know that my message will be delivered to the correct place.

As the business:

Users abandon forms like this all the time. If you put email first, it's the most likely to be filled out. The system can capture anything that looks like a valid email address even if the form is never submitted. This gives the business the opportunity to add that user as an "interested" lead in their CRM or other marketing tools.

You could even follow up with an email that says something like:

"Hey you started to reach out. Your comments are important to us! Reply to this email to chat with the CEO..."

If that was a real human email, I'd probably think about responding especially if I had a question or wanted to work with the company.

All that because of the order of the form fields in a contact us form.

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