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I'm iterating on a mortgage CRM system, which involves the broker providing previous incomes of the future home owner. Currently, the system "invisibly" provides a mechanism for creating new historical employment records:

enter image description here (once an additional income is input, a new one is created)

I am torn between keeping this approach vs. the traditional "add button":

enter image description here

Having conducted minimal user testing, I feel that the latter approach is more usable; however, what is the general consensus?

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    +1'd for the gifs (and for the clear question of course) – Vince Caregnato Jan 27 '15 at 9:42
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    How did you generated those gifs ? – NeeL Jan 31 '15 at 11:38
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Click button to create. Two major columns of UX design are ensuring that the interface serves the users' will, and that users are totally in control of their environment (bokardo.com says it better than I do).

By automatically creating the next entity, you're making the user question what action has just happened to them and their environment. The link between filling in the text and a new field appearing is not as obvious as clicking a button and having a new field appear.

The above, along with users wondering whether they are allowed to leave the box empty, creates an increased cognitive load which can be avoided. And cognitive load is bad.

However, if you were trying to encourage people to provide more information, then automatically adding a new box emphasises an "unfinished" feel, promptly the user to add more.

P.S. I love your gifs.

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    In addition to @Jacktionman's answer, if adding new items is likely to be a repetitive task then having keyboard shortcuts for adding new items can speed up form entry over having to move back to the mouse to click the add button each time. Similarly with other actions likely to be repeated such as deleting an item. – DavidTheWin Jan 27 '15 at 13:18
  • Thanks @Jacktionman for sharing those links. Very useful resources. – sweeds Aug 4 '16 at 20:47
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This depends on a case to case basis.

Based on User Research Behavior specific to your form you can select one of the two options

When an Add More button is required.

This button is required when you don't anticipate the user to provide more rows of information under normal circumstances.

In your example you are asking the user to fill up a form for some kind of tax / insurance / CRM / finance etc system. Your assumption is that the user has given their primary income and that there will be few users with alternate sources of income, that too multiple.

Based on User Tests, if there are too few users entering multiple sources of income, use the Add More button.

When an Add More Button is not required.

When you know for a fact that the user is not going to be content on entering just one additional row of data. A classic example of this would be lists. I'll give the example of Trello, where there is no Add More for adding cards.

enter image description here

The same concept is used by Google for Google Tasks, Asana for Projects, Apple for ToDo etc.

Based on User Tests, if almost all users are entering multiple sources of income, use the Add More button.

Although cognitive load is higher when you automatically add rows, it can become extremely irritating to the user to keep pressing Add More in places where it is painfully obvious there is a need to fill the next item.

If you don't know, or you can't perform tests, go with the Add More Button. Its safer.

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