Is there any usability test about using the following style of forms? It would be displayed after the user clicks on "register".

Welcome, [full name]________

To save your progress, you will need to trust us with your [email]________ and to choose
a [password]________.

Do you agree with (link) our terms?

Yes   No

Note: [...] = placeholder.

I'm thinking it could work depending on the style of the rest of the page. For a serious page IMO it wouldn't work, but for a dynamic, entertaining page it could work. However, I'm looking into hard evidence. Do you know any usability study about this type of form or even how to start looking for it? I'm not looking only for "what's the best form design", which can be easily found, but on the design depending on the context.

  • The narrative form could work, but the language needs to change a bit. It sounds too "authoritarian" which is off-putting. DA01's link to Luke W is welcoming and embracing, and leads the user to input the information without making it feel as if you're forced to, though it depends on the context really. Formal (but not authoritarian) if needed. Informal if needed. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 19:07

3 Answers 3


Luke W (our beloved guru of anything form related) has a bit of info from 2010:


Personally, I really dislike forms laid out this way. They feel much more like legal forms than 'friendly'. But there does seem to be some research that justifies them.


However, do note that 'voice' that your example is using vs the one Luke is showing. Luke's example is in first-person voice. While your example is essentially the web site talking to me--which is a bit awkward.

  • That article is exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much. I'll also add Luke W website to my favourites to read more articles from him. I think that, for repetitive use, a simple form would perform better but for a single use per user (as in register) the narrative could add up, as seen in the article you linked. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 21:08
  • 1
    Interesting article, but I think the main advantage was the predefined message text, rather than the text style. For example the new version contained the name of the car. So the user needs to type less. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 13:12

I think this would be a good experiment, Here's my suggestion.

Be a bit more formal and direct in what you want the user to be doing for example:

Welcome, [full name]________

To save your progress, please enter your [email]________ and choose
a [password]________.

[check box] I agree with (link) the terms of service
  • Thank you for the suggestion, I'll also take it into consideration. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 21:12

Jess Enders at Formulate did a great article on this kind of so-called "mad libs" form design which presents some interesting results.

While she did find that these kinds of forms can be helpful in limited situations (emphasis hers):

We adopted the fill-in-the-blanks approach for the first screen because it met the conditions under which a mad libs approach can work:

  • it was short (small number of straightforward questions);
  • the questions themselves suited a narrative wording;
  • minimal need for help, tips or other supplementary information; and
  • all questions require text or single choice answers only.

We also believe mad libs forms are suited to contexts where a sense of novelty, fun or playfulness is valuable.

Her overall research showed that in most situations that approach doesn't work well, leading to the following finding:

In Patrick's case, the mad libs approach led to a 22% decrease in conversion. While it is true that the mad libs approach wasn't the only change between the two versions, it is the most significant difference. Therefore, it's likely that a fair proportion of the negative result is attributable to using the mad libs style.

Patrick's conclusion is a good one: test the mad libs approach before adopting it. As they say “individual results may vary”! But wouldn't it be good to know whether the mad libs approach is worth considering, even before any design work commences?

I highly recommend reading the whole article!

  • 1
    I just did, and it nicely expands the other answers. It answers the second part of my concerns: does it depend on the context? (yes) Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 0:52

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