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