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I have a form where, among other things, we ask the user to enter the last time (date) they used tobacco. Currently the label for this is "Tobacco" with a date picker to select the date. I feel that the label is appropriate for a traditional "Yes/No" response. However for this case, I feel a label like "Last Tobacco Usage" is more appropriate. The user can then pick the date from the date picker. The flip side with this label is that it makes the users feel that the system is automatically assuming that all members are Tobacco users, which some users could take very negatively.

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The form is a grid-like where we collect a lot of information for multiple members of a family and hence I cant even ask the tobacco usage information upfront. For real estate and other constraints, I have to get this information in the grid like form only.

Any suggestions or recommendations to improve the users experience are welcome

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  • This is a tough one, because inventorying tobacco usage among individuals means asking this question of infants. That's a ticket to crazy-town. This is a case where I'd make a vigorous argument with my business partners for asking the usage question upfront, as you've already considered. And keep asking! Surely they don't want to ask parents of newborns if they keep a pack of Camels rolled up in their onesie sleeve. ;-) Dec 12 '13 at 14:17
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My recommendations are:

  • Tobacco usage is more appropriate header. As you pointed, you have a large form so you should reduce cognitive load while user moves along the form. Too wordly Last tobacco usage is good for label.
  • Don't use date picker for specifying last time usage. Users don't have absolute calendar for such type of events in their heads. Instead use relative time measures: today, yesterday, etc.
  • Use Do not smoke as default value.

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  • A much-needed row would be "in highschool" :)
    – Rumi P.
    Dec 12 '13 at 12:30
  • @RumiP., yeah ☺! So time options should be reasonable, i.e. aligned to smoking habit patterns. Even "this year" is probably evidence of the absence of smoking habit. Dec 12 '13 at 12:38
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Off the top of my head, I would stick with the label "tobacco" then instead of the date picker ask... "are you a tobacco user?" with a yes/no radio, checkboxes, buttons or something, if they select yes, then show the date picker inside the box just under the choice, maybe something like this:

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