UX 101: put the cursor in the first field

When loading a page where a form is the focal point of the page, always put the cursor in the first field. This allows the user to start typing immediately.

A good example is when you go to create a new blog post at WordPress.com. Have you noticed how it works?

  1. When the New Post page loads, the cursor goes right into the Title field.
  2. After typing your title, hit the Tab key. Now you’re right in the Body field.

The little details make all the difference.

There’s an exception though. If there’s a search box on a page where the main function isn’t search, don’t put the cursor in the field. If the user scrolls down when the page is still loading, the cursor can make the page jump back up to the top so the search box is visible.

Putting the cursor into the first field is really useful for speeding things up for the user. You’ll notice it the most if you have a lot of repetitive data entry to do. Anything you can do to reduce a mouse click and get the user started much faster will help to make your screens a joy to use.

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