So trying to keep data and forms as clean as possible for a university project (online book store). As part of my designs I elected for a user's first initial and surname to address them (e.g. J Smith for John Smith), the app has no requirements for a global populace, so focusing on a UK audience.

What's the simplest way of asking the user for the information in a form (preferably in one field)? Is Initial-Surname explicit enough if I provide an example in/around the input field? Or should I do more work to split the fields and then concatenate after?

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    I wouldn't assume that even UK audience always conforms to UK naming format(s)... Is it necessary for delivery that the first name is always truncated to an initial?
    – user1686
    Jun 26, 2020 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


Users will appreciate if it is simple for them and it's helpful if you can capture the name in one field - seems the name format is not that important. This opens up for an even more user friendly option.

By exploring options visually it might become clear what the simplest option is. I'd say "just ask for name and do not prescribe a format".

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Don't forget the error handling (e.g. invalid characters, too long, ...)

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    Thanks for the advice. Realistically the important information is either a title + surname combo or initial + surname combo, for use with Billing & Delivery information - again this isn't going live anywhere so this bare minimum would suffice. Might ask for Full-Name and parse the input to attempt to keep it to one box
    – dforster10
    Jun 24, 2020 at 22:34
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    You can't 'parse' names
    – Vivelin
    Jun 29, 2020 at 6:17

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