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Conditional fields in forms


From: Eoin Campbell
Date: May 14, 2008 4:50PM

I am using SurveyGizmo to create a survey,
which as questions of the form:

Which colours do you like:
- Blue
- Red
- Green
- Other (please specify)

When a respondent chooses "Other",
they need to fill in a text box to specify the alternative.
Survey Gizmo offers 3 different ways of implementing
this, and I would like to know if one is more
accessible than the others.

1. Textbox field always present
2. Textbox field dynamically made visible (using JavaScript)
on current page if respondent checks 'Other'.
3. Textbox field appears as next displayed page,
if respondent checks 'Other', otherwise the
following question is displayed.

My feeling is that 3, inserting a new page,
is more accessible, but has the disadvantage
of fragmenting the response from the main question.
It is also problematic when multiple related questions
are presented on one page, but that particular question
type is not the last one on the page.

1 is visually very unappealing, especially where
the textbox is a multi-row field, and makes the
survey look cluttered, possibly reducing completion rates.

Any thoughts?