A/B Testing Idea #40 - Whenever possible, pre-fill fields whilst ensuring that users are able to alter them

Tactic_Whenever possible, pre-fill fields whilst ensuring that users are able to alter them


Making forms as simple and quick to fill in as possible will encourage your customers to complete the desired actions. Where possible - and applicable - it will be helpful therefore to pre-fill form fields with information you already have (such as name, email address etc.).

However, it is important that you allow the user to change these details if they want to as people are more open to completing actions where they feel as though they are in control. If autonomy is completely removed then they may experience an aversion and frustration that could lead to them not completing the process. Also, quite simply, they may want to alter the information you have pre-filled for any number of reasons.


  • Cognitive Friction (Sweller, 1988)
  • Autonomy bias (Deci, 1971; Ryan, 2008)

The Research

Cognitive Friction

Learning happens best under conditions that are aligned with human cognitive architecture.

Autonomy bias

We prefer situations that we have control over.

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