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I have long and multiple page forms. I have made them into sections by using accordions so that user has ease of identifying the sections and not get lost. Is there any way to make the journey for user interesting since the form is long enough(takes upto an hour to fill entirely)?

Providing reference links for UI is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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Take a look at Turbotax. They simplified the tax filing process into a series of steps that focuses the user in the task at hand. They have complex interdependencies and rules working in the background, but on its simplest form, it’s a multi-step form.

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Different from other multi-step forms, where the steps are laid out on the top, Turbotax relies in a side-navigation interface allowing to fit more steps and easier browsing.

Depending on your specific product and use-case, other suggestions to help the user along the ardous process are:

  1. Provide automatic saving of changes.
  2. Letting the user know changes are being saved.
  3. Show what step the user is in out of the total number of step.
  4. Letting the user return to previous steps for editing.
  5. Inform the user of any hard to find a information (e.g. IDs or documents) required to fill the form.
  6. Provide guidance and on where to find the above information and why you need it.
  7. Simplifying the page (e.g. removing unnecessary navigation, links, etc) to help the user focus in the task of filling the form.
  8. What else can be done to fasten the process (e.g. Enter zipcode first and having City and State auto-fill or having Google API to recognize address and auto-fill entire address form)? What other APIs can we leverage to auto-fill information?
  9. What other frustrations can you help the user with?
  10. Question and re-question and purpose of each information you ask from the user. Why do we need it? Is it absolutely essential for the task? Can it be removed? Can the information be obtained another way without bothering the user?
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  • Thanks Nicolas, as rightly analyzed by you, we have a lot of interdependencies running in the back ground. I am considering your suggestions. – Ashwin Kulkarni May 22 '20 at 6:13
  • One problem with the TurboTax form is the use of two columns - single column works far better for users. And it's a little confusing tracking across from label to text field. Seems to me it would benefit from the labels being on top of the fields. – Steve O'Connor May 22 '20 at 13:49
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    @SteveO'Connor agreed, OP should follow form best practices – Nicolas l Open to work May 22 '20 at 13:57
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Is there any way to make the journey for user interesting?

What do you mean by this exactly? Should a form be interesting? Or should it be simple, easy, and useful? Have your users requested the form be more interesting?

Do you have a link to your form, or a screenshot?

Accordions should only be used as a last resort. For multi-part forms it is better to have multiple screens with the steps shown at the top (e.g. 2 of 10) and the ability to move back and forth through the form; or use progressive disclosure, keep it all on one page, and label each section (e.g. 1 of 5).

Which solution you use depends on the length of form - an hour to fill in sounds pretty long so multi-page might be best.

A great addition would be to enable users to save their progress with the form, so they can come back later to finish it.

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    Thanks for writing Steve. I have save in place. I have used multiple pages forms created. i have a progress indicator in place. Still Since it is a long form, i am wondering if there are any other ways for user not to experience hectic. Note: I cannot take down the fields. They have interdependencies. Let me know if you can connect. – Ashwin Kulkarni May 22 '20 at 6:18
  • Good news on having those features :) Other features of usable, non hectic forms: single column; labels on all fields; left aligned; useful hint text only where needed; if most of the fields are required, don't use asterisks to mark required fields - mark optional fields with (optional) instead; use checkboxes or radio buttons instead of dropdowns; inline form field validation; clean design! – Steve O'Connor May 22 '20 at 11:00
  • Oh, and use content-specific field lengths. So a field for an email might be 100% wide, a field for a zip code/postcode might be 25% wide. It indicates to the user what is expected of them, and helps break up the wall of fields. – Steve O'Connor May 22 '20 at 13:46
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  • The problem starts with the number of input fields we have in the form. Try to reduce those first.

We can help users by trying to reduce cognitive load. Try to display an average 7 field at a time. For that we can ask only what's required and eliminate optional fields.

  • Instead of putting everything in a single form, make multiple forms.

Just like when we update personal info on many sites filed like passwords are not part of that form. those fields are kept separate even those belong to personal information. Try to find the same opportunity here.

  • Even after making multiple forms, any form contains lots of inputs, make form multistep and allow user to save their progress in each step.

I would suggest not to use an accordion If we have to display field-specific validation error during form submission, extra coding to keep a specific section of an accordion open need to be done.

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  • You can't possibly tell them to reduce the number of input fields without knowing what the fields are or what the form is for. Likewise, how can you advise multiple forms without knowing the content of the form? Good point on technical issues with accordions in forms. – Steve O'Connor May 21 '20 at 10:15
  • @stev thanks for the feedback, I have updated my answer. hope it is more helpful than before – Codesigner May 21 '20 at 11:10
  • Appreciate the suggestions, Thank you. I have no room to reduce the input fields. I have accordions already in place. May be for the next patch i will consider an alrternative for this. Can you tell me any reason apart from coding of validation to have suggested this point? – Ashwin Kulkarni May 22 '20 at 6:14

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