Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability

Labels on forms

Best practice in label placement on forms

We find that many hours of project time get consumed in arguments about where to put labels on forms - time that could be used more profitably in thinking about users. So, Caroline has written about it and also does presentations:

An article on UX Matters, Label alignment in long forms, shows how much effort and backwards-and-forwards discussion can be devoted to this topic. (Caroline admits that she joined in). What we all need to bear in mind is this:

Users don't care very much about the placement of labels.

What users DO care about is whether the questions are easy to anwer, whether they want to reveal that information on your form, and whether the validations prevent them from entering the answers of their choice.

So our advice is:

Arrange the labels in any way that looks harmonious to you.
Make sure that each label is close to the field it belongs to.
Then test your form with your users and change it according to whatever they tell you.

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Last Modified 2011-04-17