One question at a time

The "one thing at a time" form design pattern, as seen on GOV.UK and adopted by other governments, is an approach to designing online forms that aims to enhance user experience and increase form completion rates. This pattern involves breaking down complex forms into smaller, more manageable parts by presenting only one question or input field per screen, guiding users through the form in a step-by-step manner.

Advantages of the "one question at a time" form design pattern include:

1. Reduced cognitive load: Presenting one question at a time simplifies the user experience and makes it easier for users to focus on supplying the required information. This reduces the cognitive load, making the form filling process less overwhelming and more manageable.

2. Improved clarity and comprehension: By isolating individual questions, this design pattern helps ensure users understand the information being requested and reduces the likelihood of errors or incomplete responses.

3. Enhanced user experience: Breaking down complex forms into smaller, more digestible chunks creates a smoother, more enjoyable user experience, which can lead to higher completion rates and increased satisfaction.

4. Personalized journey: The "one question at a time" approach allows for conditional logic to be more easily implemented, tailoring the user's journey based on their previous answers. This ensures that users are only presented with relevant questions, thereby streamlining the process and making it more efficient.

5. Error prevention and correction: This design pattern allows users to focus on one input at a time, making it easier to spot and correct errors before continuing to the next question. It also enables real-time validation, providing instant feedback on the user's input and reducing the chances of submission errors.

6. Accessibility: The "one question at a time" pattern inherently supports better accessibility, as screen readers and other assistive technologies can more easily navigate and interpret the content of single-question pages. This makes the form filling process more inclusive for users with disabilities.

7. Easier analysis of user behaviour: Presenting one question per screen allows for better tracking of user behaviour, such as drop-off points, time spent on each question, and areas of confusion. This data can be valuable in identifying issues with the form and making improvements to enhance the overall user experience.


About Fraser Clark

I've been a professional developer for over 10 years. I've been consulting and developing websites & software for small businesses, multi-nationals & governments.

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