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Field labels generally fall into one of 2 camps, either terse or chatty, such as 'Name' versus 'What is your name?'. Typically there is a broad correlation between the expertise or focus of the user: for a professional using the form a lot, the terse form may be used, while the chatty form may be used to appear more friendly and engaging for customers.

While there are principles which can be applied to both styles (e.g. consistent terminology), are there any studies which have been done (or even personal experience) on the merits or effectiveness of both styles? The question has been triggered by a series of forms which use the terse form, but could easily be rewritten to use the chattier form.

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    Effectiveness has everything to do with your goals, I doubt either would fail at its job. I find terse to be quicker and chatty would be slower, but there are ways to get the best of both. For example, in "what is your name" make "name" bold, so the hurrying user, or the user double checking their answers, can do so quickly. I'm personally a fan of terse minimalist forms with friendly deeper explanations coming in the form of infobubbles or tooltips. – gunfulker Sep 17 '15 at 8:31
  • Yes i agree with @gunfulker, that Chatty would be slower to fill and terse would be quicker – Ahsan Idrisi Sep 18 '15 at 2:34
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It depends on the overall experience you want to provide the user.

For example:

If you want to provide a more professional experience to the user and want to make it look legitimate and serious, you could go ahead with using only the relevant tag as the label, let's say: Name:

If your plan is to not be as serious but provide a fun, intuitive experience, you could go with What's your name?

Many serious companies tend to go chatty with their approach for these labels to provide a more friendly experience.

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    Another term for this is the voice of your app/website. Keep in mind if you went with the "chatty" approach to convey fun and friendliness, you need to do it consistently across all your user communications. Here's a great article on Slack's approach to this problem. medium.com/@awilkinson/… – nightning Sep 18 '15 at 18:44
  • I think it is more related to readability issue and time of filling the form rather than professional experience or being formal – Ahsan Idrisi Sep 28 '15 at 15:52
  • When you're designing an experience, Ahsan, you need to keep in mind on how you want to portray your website too. – Swapnil Borkar Sep 28 '15 at 15:55
  • Chatty labels can be funny or serious both so there is no point that longer labels are more funnier. I have myself designed and implemented chatty form labels (one question at a time) approach in a Financial Lawyer Landing page – Ahsan Idrisi Sep 28 '15 at 16:01
  • "go chatty with their approach for these labels to provide a more friendly experience" = except that "chatty" rarely makes for a friendlier experience. – DA01 Sep 28 '15 at 19:49
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From my point of view, there is few things to consider

  1. Chatty kind of labels are rather new so users might not expect them
  2. Chatty labels will take more time and the form will take more time to fill
  3. Also these chatty labels if they are very long, they might shift to two lines on a small mobile screen so again more readability problems

Here is how i used it in filling one form field to fill at one time http://learnuxid.com/trucker/

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Chattier is never likely a UX improvement. However, having a casual voice or plain language explanation could be.

In other words, don't make labels wordier for the sake of being wordier. Do make them fit the overall personality and objectives of your site/form.

When it doubt, though, keep it simple (and short).

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