And now for another installment of Jira Gore in which I go over some of the most interesting, but surprisingly not unique, requests that I've come across in my ten-plus years working with Atlassian tools. In today's post, I'm going to talk about mandatory fields. They seem like a pretty straightforward subject. In fact, most people don't think twice about making fields mandatory: "Does the person submitting this ticket need to provide this information? Yes? Okay, let's make it mandatory." It makes sense.
Mandatory fields can quickly escalate from necessary to the person submitting the ticket getting angry, pulling their hair, and then deciding they're better off not submitting a ticket.
You open a ticket and see there are 40 mandatory fields before you can submit the ticket. Yes, you read that right...40. Assuming each field takes you anywhere from one second to 10 seconds to submit, plus the time it takes to read and respond appropriately, you're looking at a form that could take someone several minutes to submit. This doesn't seem bad, but when the person is trying to get assistance for something that's broken, it's just added frustration. And that's not even factoring in the scrolling. Scrolling through forms is basically the worst!
So how many mandatory fields are too many? There isn't a magic number, but the fewer, the better. What is the absolute minimum you need to begin work on someone's ticket? Remember, a person submitting a ticket won't always have the answers to every question. I recommend including more open-ended questions and fewer mandatory ones. This makes the process more of a conversation. By giving the person submitting the ticket a chance to provide input, you set yourself—and the user—up for a a better experience overall.