Lower Cognitive Load on Forms with Input Chips

Improving message forms

UX Movement


Getting high user engagement on messaging forms is quite the challenge. Sometimes users aren’t sure how to respond to a message. Thinking about what to say requires a high cognitive load that can cause mental strain.

In one case, a classified ads app that allows users to sell their used items is having trouble getting users to respond to the listings. Not only that, but many users aren’t sure what to say when asking about an item. As a result, they spend a lot of time on the form to craft a simple message.

How do you reduce cognitive load and increase user engagement here? The solution is to use input chips.

Input chips are prewritten messages that users can select to use as form input. This component saves users from typing and makes it easy for them to start a conversation.

Research has discovered that there are a few common messages buyers will say to a seller about an item for sale. They’ll express interest in an item, ask if it’s available, ask for its condition, or ask about delivery.

The next step is to put these common messages in input chips next to the text area. Users will recognize them as prewritten responses they can choose. Selecting one will automatically enter the text in the field for them. As a result, it’ll reduce typing and the cognitive effort they have to do.

It’s important not to include too many input chips that might overwhelm the user. They still have to make a decision choosing a chip. The more options you display, the longer it takes to decide.

Input chips are effective for any interface where user-to-user communication is prominent, such as email and discussion forums. The context will determine what prewritten messages you should use, so research how your users are messaging each other.

A blank form leaves users thinking about what to say. Many of them struggle with writing messages and starting a conversation. Reduce their cognitive load with input chips, and you’ll increase user engagement on your messaging app.

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