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I'm working on a form that will be used by users from all over the world to register for an account on a B2B website which is entirely in English. In order to create this account you need to provide your (real) name. Using one single field is unfortunately not an option, so I need to use two name fields.

I wanted to label one field "Family Name" (as this W3C article suggests) but I'm unsure if the other field should be labeled as "Other/given names".

I thought about using one of these labels instead:

  • Personal Name(s)
  • Given Name(s)
  • Your Name(s)

That is my current wireframe

my current wireframe

  • If the site is entirely in English, isn't your audience already familiar with how to handle standardized name entry fields? – Jung Lee Oct 22 '15 at 15:27
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    why not just make it "first name" and "last name" ? – Stanley VM Oct 22 '15 at 15:32
  • What exactly is each field used for--is the "full name" field basically a display name, what other users see in the interface? Since you say there's more than one field I assume you have to keep first/last name as fields and this is a third input? – Ben Brocka Oct 22 '15 at 16:27
  • You mention that separate fields are necessary, so does that mean you have to have one field for first name and one field for last name? If so, I would label each field as such as it would be the most clear. I think all other field names would be confusing. Alternatively you could just ask "What is your name?" and then in the fields have sample text such as "Jane" in the first name field and "Doe" in the last name field which would help further convey the information you're seeking from the user. – Julia Rezsnyak Oct 22 '15 at 17:28
  • @JungLee Not really. Sometimes we receive messages via the information request form that suggest otherwise. What are the standardized name entry fields for non-localized forms? – Aneta Oct 22 '15 at 18:04
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If your users are not familiar with the terms "Family Name" and "Personal Name" (I'm not), then you should put them in the right order to help them figure out what you mean. That is, switch them in your example to show Personal first and Family last.

I've seen name field labels show multiple options, like this: "First Name/Given Name" and "Last Name/Surname."

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    Most of the users are coming from Western countries so changing the order of the fields and offering multiple options for the name field labels, would be helpful. Thank you! – Aneta Oct 22 '15 at 19:00
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As per your wireframe, I would like to recommend couple of things;

  1. Instead of Personal and Family name, it would be better to have First Name and Last Name (or Surname, depending on your audience)

  2. The button name should be labeled "Create Account". It's more appropriate and Submit terminology can be very vague and give users the impression that the form isn’t focused on a specific task.

  • 1) I think using "First Name" and "Last Name" in a non-localized form can create confusion. In a different form on that website, people entered their family name under the field "first name" because in their country/culture you put the family name first and then your other names. 2) Yes,"Create Account" is much better. Thank you! (But I have to clarify that even if the user clicks on that button, his account won't be created right away. He will receive an email with a link. If he clicks on that link his account will be created.) – Aneta Oct 22 '15 at 18:32
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I'd focus the form on the largest expected demographic - if that's English, then go with 'First' and 'Last' name.

  • I would just be explicit "First Name" "Last Name" – danielone Nov 15 '15 at 4:09
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You are using Eastern order for the name. We sometimes use this for formal lists of names (Smith, John), but not in general use. If you need to support people from eastern cultures or Hungary then you may want to localise the order based on the language/locale. Some Eastern Order cultures swap names when transliterating them into latin characters so be careful.

But you said it is English language only; so I suggest you use the common western order, side by side and label them carefully. You will probably use the names in that order in the output so keeping them side by side is good. A bit of local help might be good too (e.g an info icon and pop-up, or tooltip to explain).

(If you are using these names for searching you should assume that they might be swapped in some cases.)

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I would avoid using "personal name" because technically your whole name is a name personal to you. And some people may get confused and think "personal name" means a nickname.

For an English Oriented Audience

If your audience mostly speaks English, then you might use this:

  • Surname/Last Name
  • Given Name/First Name

Most people familiar with English would probably be familiar with that combination of wording.

For an International Multilingual Audience

If you are targeting an international audience, you should avoid using "first name" and "last name" because some cultures actually reverse the order of names. (For example, in English the name would be Kim Chang, but in Chinese it would be Chang Kim instead, with the family name listed first.)

I would suggest "Surname/Family Name" for the "family name" field, and "Given Name" as the second field.

So if their name is John Smith, they would fill out the field:

  • Surname/Family Name: Smith
  • Given Names: John

If they name is John Michael Smith, then they might fill it out as:

  • Surname/Family Name: Smith
  • Given Names: John Michael
  • How about putting First/Last verbiage first ? so First Name (Given Name) and Last Name (Surname) – danielone Nov 15 '15 at 4:13
  • That would work too, especially if your primary audience is from a culture where the first name is the given name, and the last name is the surname. – Scott M. Stolz Nov 19 '15 at 20:05

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