# Is it better to ask for 'full name' or 'first name' and 'last name' in a registration form? [duplicate]

I want to know that whether full name or first name and last name is better to ask in user profile or registration form?

For example: My full name as per my NIC is Waheed-ud-din, where it is one name, so no separate firstname or lastname. I can use my family name with it, as lastname. But I usually don't use that. I normally use Hafiz as my firstname that is my nick and most people know me with that.

So should we use display name during registration and during profile completion use fullname? It seems good but problem arise when display name and full name are totally different and we need to show fullname at some places and username/displayname at some other places. Some time user can be confuse because of it. What do you think could be the solution?

## marked as duplicate by JonW♦Apr 25 '12 at 13:05

• – Erics Apr 25 '12 at 13:02

You're right, the user definitely could be confused if you're not referring to them in a consistent manner and where you display each definitely needs consideration.

I'd suggest looking at websites that use screen names and full names and how they handle each. Twitter, for example, asks for both on sign up.

Depending what your site is about, it may be ok to just skip a full name all together? If you can't skip it and assuming you need more than a name, consider asking the user for additional information on their first login and explain why you need the info.

Also, if your able to use social network logins, you could pull their full name information without their typing it in.

• If I will be using fullname then what will I say with welcome message as fullnames are longer and occupy more space while if I will implement social login then how can I get display name? – Hafiz Apr 25 '12 at 12:58

Simply put - folks from non-English-speaking countries may not know what in their full name is the first name and the last name, trust me. This is probably due to the complexity of their names.

So your best bet is to ask for their "Full Name" which would be a lot clear and straight forward to most.

And if you have to ask for their first name and last name individually, you'd be better off providing some hints. For instance:

• First Name is also referred to as the Given Name or Christian Name.
• Last Name is also often called the Family Name or Surname.
• Alternatively, you can provide a hint like this:

Example: Will (first name), Smith (last name) as in Will Smith

Not that this is the best way to do it, but it helps. :) Depends on your target audience as well.

• 1. who said non-english speaking countries dosent know the diff b/w first name and surname? Do you have evidence? Rabindranath tagore - Rabindranath first name, tagore - surname - reference of Indian name with first name and surname! 2. how to identify target audiance before they register? – sree Apr 25 '12 at 9:58
• @sree (1) may not and do not have very different meanings. (2) You don't need evidence to say that. It's commonsense. If everyone knew the meaning of first name and last name, there wouldn't be so many questions about them on the web. – its_me Apr 25 '12 at 10:01
• @sree 2. how to identify target audience before they register? Simple answer is, you should know your target audience. You do not start a project without knowing your target audience (or put it this way, the country, or region of population you would like to target). And still don't understand how my question offended you. :) – its_me Apr 25 '12 at 10:15
• my friend nothing offended me... i was thinking the other way, means, does all english speaking country know their surname last name etc... (2) targeting audience like that would be difficult for a general app isnt it? unless its geo based sites ? :) – sree Apr 25 '12 at 10:38
• @sree (2) targeting audience like that would be difficult for a general app isnt it? unless its geo based sites ? When we do not have a specific target audience, we should prepare for the worst -- i.e., try to make the registration form more understandable , as best as you can. – its_me Apr 25 '12 at 10:43

I'd use the above, 800 million people used it fine ;)

• Just include "name" after First, Middle, and Last :D – Sknny Jul 19 '16 at 6:57

Well, most of the government driven sites/apps need your fullname along with your last name initial etc because they rely on high accuracy of data. For example passport registration needs your fullname , surname etc because they want to clearly distinguish each person based on name. Here, fullname is useful since it has to be printed on a authenticated passport.

On the other hand , you can simply use name or nick name only in cases where your registration does not connect to high data accuracy or authenticity , for example social networks, gaming sites etc need not have fullname, surname since, these are less worried when they want to display your name.