According to Mike Hughes, putting instructional text in the beginning of a form doesn't work. People prefer doing over reading. Our attention is easily drawn to action objects, such as text fields and buttons, causing us leapfrog over instructions.
Mike Hughes gives the following recommendations:
- Divide dense instructions up for individual action objects
- Put the appropriate instructions in close proximity to their respective action objects
- Place the instructional text next to the corresponding action object-preferably, in the downstream direction, to the right or just below it
- If the instructional text is too long, provide a link that dynamically displays a pop-up or pane when a user clicks it.
- Instructional Text in the User Interface: Some Counterintuitive Implications of User Behaviors
- March 12, 2007
See also: Forms (30)