Forms

Use Autocomplete Fields to Reduce Cognitive Load

One of the most frustrating things is having a word you want to say on the tip of your tongue but not remembering what it is. You feel like you have a general idea of the word, but you can’t spit it out. This frustrating experience is how users feel when they have to fill out form fields with name data.

It’s pretty easy to fill out form fields that ask for your personal information because you don’t have to do any work to recall that. You know your name, email, phone number, and address like the back of your hand. However, when you have to recall other name data such as someone’s name, the name of a product, movie, or restaurant, that’s when it’s easy to forget.

In the following scenario, the user is trying to invite a co-worker to a group chat but doesn’t remember her email. They know her first name, but the field is asking for an email. Now the user has to go hunt down her email address to invite her. This inconvenience increases their cognitive load and task time.

The human working memory has limited capacity and can only hold a small amount of information to carry out tasks. Therefore, the user can remember their co-worker’s first name but remembering the email is too much.

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