I have a question about designing the UX that requires a large amount of data to be entered by the user upon signing up for an app - needed as the app cannot function without this data - how can this be designed in a simple fashion. Furthermore the app needs to be designed for the iPhone hence having a small screen to enter a large data set. Because they have to enter this info upon signing in they might be overwhelmed and turned off to use the app - need to avoid that.

The data set is financial in nature (and thus can be perceived as boring) including things like salary, 401k deductions, marital status, student loan amount, etc.

The closest app that I saw was TaxCaster. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/taxcaster-mobile/id346184215?mt=8

I found it to be cumbersome as an end user on the iPhone, several screens to navigate. Our app is not even close to this much data but would say its a fair amount of data entry.

P.S. I am not a UX or iOS developer but working with an iOS developer on identifying a flow.

  • What is the use-case for doing all of this on a mobile device? Typically users that need to enter large amounts of data purposefully DON'T use a mobile device to do it.
    – DA01
    Aug 20, 2013 at 21:50
  • I was just thinking the same thing, but in reality, people want to do everything in their mobile.
    – Dvir Adler
    Aug 21, 2013 at 6:55

1 Answer 1


Colleagues of mine has a similar problem with an iPhone app that enabled users to purchase insurance policies (yes they sell those on mobile apps!). Their solution consisted the following elements:

  1. Breaking down the form into multiple screens, thus creating a very long wizard. Each screen had few data fields to enter, usually of the same type (dates, strings, etc.). This helped reduce visual and cognitive load, as the user had to handle only few data fields at a time.
  2. They used a progress indicator, but not necessarily an explicit one. What they did was use an image as the background. Whenever the screen was transitioned in the direction of progress (i.e. transition to the right), the background image would also advance a little (creating a parallax effect). This way, the user doesn't know exactly how much he is through, but still he always has a sense of making progress.
  3. They introduced rewards along the way. E.g., if you reached a certain step, a message would tell you that you earned a bonus discount just for completing the process (for more psychological rewards like this, see gamification.
  4. Minimize taps - wherever possible, a tap of selection would indicate a progress, eliminating the need to tap "continue" (mainly in menus with several options). Also, bring up the keyboard automatically without the need to place the focus in the first field (and of course, adjust the keyboard to the data type, like numeric keyboard for fields of amount).

In summary, by breaking the long process into baby steps, it might be less overwhelming and easier to fit on the small smartphone screen. It will still be long, but as long as people enjoy the ride, they will be willing to stay.

  • Thanks for the feedback! These are great suggestions. The #3 parallax effect is super cool - got me excited! Aug 22, 2013 at 5:05
  • One more note about the parallax background: each major step would have its own background image, to communicate the user he made a step further.
    – Dvir Adler
    Aug 22, 2013 at 10:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.