Indicating Required Form Fields: A Recap

A little while ago a posted I question about where the asterisk should go on required form fields. I got a great selection of responses — here’s a recap:

  • 48% of commenters prefer to put the asterisk to the right of the input field.
  • 44% would place the asterisk to the right of the form label (between the label and the form field)
  • Only 8% of commenters are like myself and place the asterisk to the left of the label.

These results were quite surprising to me and have put me in something of a quandary. My preferred method of indicating required fields is the least preferred of the three options.

The option that feels most natural to me — given that we read from left to right — is clearly wrong.

Of the two remaining options, I will choose putting the asterisk to the right of the label.

The results were similar and Luke Wroblewski, who has authored a book on the subject — Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks — recommends this option.

It’s going to take some getting used to though.

Surprisingly, only one person offered the traditional web designer’s response, “It depends.” What, no one likes sitting on the fence anymore?

This, of course, has generated a new question that I’d like some feedback on: should labels on the same row as the input field be left or right aligned? Does it matter?