Using asterisk (*) vs required

  • For a long time, the norm was to put a red asterisk "*" after the field label if the field was required. Now I am observing a shift into replacing the asterisk symbol with the word "(required)" after the label.

    Bootstrap:

    Bootstrap

    vs

    Foundation:

    Foundation

    Angular Material:

    Angular Material

    I really like the Angular Material required style. I :)

    I am asking about the differences between using an asterisk vs required.

    What drove the shift and is that a better user experience? What are the pros and cons against the two?

    EDIT: It was pointed out that this question might have been already asked (What's the best way to highlight a Required field on a web form before submission?), but that is not what my question is about.

    • I am not asking how to label a required input as required.
    • I am not asking if the asterisk is the norm or not.
    • I am not asking if you should omit optional inputs or not.

    If you are debating that, you are missing the point. :D

    I just know the asterisk styl where a foot note is made in the styl "* *This are required fields.*" Never seen without such a note (Or just didn't notice that a time had come where they got cut off, because I stoped looking for the note)

  • Asterisks (*):

    • Pro: it doesn't take up much space
    • Con: it doesn't mean anything

    "Required":

    • Con: it takes up more space
    • Pro: it tells you exactly what it reads as meaning

    The "norm" was never a red asterisks. While many early web pages used an asterisks, it wasn't necessarily red and always required a key someone near the top of the form telling you that "* = required". Some sites did something different. Eventually it did become common enough that most people could realize what it meant, but it was still effectively meaningless without prior knowledge.

    Actually labeling something as "required", instead of "*", when it is required is absolutely better from a usability standpoint. In the same way as labeling something "dangerous" when it is dangerous, instead of providing iconography you think is meaningful... until someone interprets it differently and loses a finger to an angry primate.

    *The "norm" was never a red asterisks.* {{Citation needed}} Something doesn't have to be formally normalized to be the norm. Standing on the right and walking on the left in escalators is the norm in many countries, but it's not written in any law book or anything, and you cannot guess it without prior knowledge -- it's still what's done by almost everyone, so it's the norm.

    _loses a finger to an angry primate_ Perhaps a dangerous label is required on your username

    @NajibIdrissi: Escalators on the London Underground *do* have notices explicitly asking users to stand on the left.

    @Simba You completely missed my point.

    @NajibIdrissi No, red asterisks were never the norm. In fact, the use of asterisks at all is just incindental because there is only one footnote on the form. If there were two footnotes mentioned in the form, an asterisk would be used for the first, and a dagger would probably be used for the second.

    @Brandin Again, I think you're confused about what "the norm" means. One of the definitions is "a widespread or usual practice, procedure, or custom", which quite clearly applies. Look at examples of the word "norm" used in sentences, if you're still unsure.

    @NajibIdrissi Adding asterisks is the norm, the red colour is not part of the norm. If you look at many forms, it will turn out that most of them are the same colour as the text (usually dark grey or black). Some of them are red too, maybe some are purple. But the colour is not part of the norm.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM