by anthony on 02/14/17 at 7:34 am
Does your form have two separate fields for first name and last name? If it does, you are making it harder for users to fill out your form. But there’s a better way.
Split Name Fields Cause Problems
Not every user has a first and last name. Their cultural background determines how their name is formed. For example, if you’re from Latin America, chances are that you have two last names, one from each parent. If you’re Chinese, your family name is first, personal name is last, and they’re always used together.
Requiring every user to type their name into two separate fields is an impossible task. Some users will be able to do it, but others won’t know how to split their name into first and last. These users will get confused, leave a name field blank and won’t be able to submit the form.
Single “Full Name” Field
A single field labeled “Full Name” is more culturally inclusive. Full name may include first, middle, last, family and other given names. It allows users to type in their name without splitting them into first and last. This is aligned with how users perceive their name as a single coherent entity.
Sometimes you may want to split name fields so you can refer to users without using their full name. Instead of asking for a first name, you can give users a “What should we call you?” field. This avoids the first and last name confusion and allows users to specify how to address them.
The structure of a name is not the same across cultures. Users who visit your site will consist of a broad range of people from different countries. Your name field should be culturally inclusive so that no one struggles to fill out your form. With most things in life two is better than one. But when it comes to name fields one is better than two.