This is the next article in our series on Form Design. Previous articles include:
Now that you know why good form design is important and how to ask good questions, here are some quick ways to improve Jira screens and Jira Service Desk request forms.
Use these easy field tips in Jira.
1. Limit fields on the Create screen
When you create a project, Jira automatically creates screens and schemes for it. A “Kanban Default Issue Screen” includes 14 fields! By the time you’ve added additional custom fields, screens are often long and cumbersome. Just because info is needed, doesn’t mean it’s needed at the same time the issue is created. Group your fields into the following categories:
Only show fields in the first category on the “Create” screen. Fewer fields make issues easier to create, especially for non-technical users.
Also only ask for information the creator can immediately provide. For example, if the creator isn’t the person who calculates the estimate or determines the release date, omit those fields. You can collect that information, during a scheduling process, later in the workflow.
If you have “Edit” and “View” screens, include all the relevant fields, so info is easy to update at any time. Usually these actions can share the same screen but sometimes they are different. Example: A field has a value but editing it is not desired. In this case, the “View” screen shows the field but the “Edit” screen does not. As a reminder, for Jira Cloud Next-gen projects, there’s just one screen per project or per issue type and no distinction between the create, edit, and view operations.
2. Use tabs to group similar fields
If there are many fields, use the “tabs” feature to group them. In the screenshot, all user picker fields are together in the “People” tab and all date and version fields are in the “Internal” tab.
3. Collect additional information during the workflow
Determine when in the workflow other fields should be completed. For example, fields like “Assignee”, “Due date”, and “Original Estimate” should be filled before an issue reaches the “In Progress” status. Use a workflow transition screen, and validators, to require entry. If you’re using ProForma you can create separate forms to collect information at different times in the workflow.
4. Order fields strategically
List fields in the order the user is likely to supply the information. Place more important fields at the top.
Always place the “Priority” field before a “Requested” date field. It may help set realistic expectations to ask for the importance before the date.
5. Order fields consistently
Use a consistent field order for all issue types and projects. Users expect and appreciate a standard.
6. Only create fields that are reported on
Don’t show unnecessary fields, collect information you won’t use, or create custom fields that aren’t queried. Instead, use the standard “Description” and “Comment” fields and train users what information to provide.
7. Utilize best practices and standard web form conventions
When creating screens, be aware of the web and application standard conventions that users expect. Here are some tips for effective and useful web forms.
With Jira Service Desk, you have a different audience to consider. In Jira, the create form should be as short as possible. But in Jira Service Desk, it’s important to collect all the important details up front, to avoid multiple rounds of follow-up questions. This is especially important when working with external customers in different time zones.
Use the Jira tips above and these additional tips for JSD.
1. Use “Introduction text” to provide portal instructions
Enter a custom message to help users understand support options and share additional help resources. The intro message is especially important when there are multiple Service Desk portals. Intro message space is available in addition to the temporary announcement banner. (Both are pictured below.) Visit Project Settings > Portal settings to enter introduction text.
2. Use the “Description” field to help users select the correct form
Add a short description for each request form, so users can determine the best selection for their request.
Always provide a selection for “all other requests”. In the screenshot above, there’s a generic form titled “Get IT help.”
3. Use the “Help and instructions” field to set request expectations
Enter custom instructions for each request form so users know what information is needed and how long it usually takes to receive a response. In the screenshot below, the user can expect help within 2 hours for this type of support request.
4. Customize field labels and add field descriptions
In JSD you can customize a Jira field’s label. For example, I often change the default “Summary” label to the more descriptive “Summarize the problem.”
Similarly, you can also customize field descriptions. Use the Jira field description for Jira users and tailor language in the Portal to that audience.
Custom Field Labels and Descriptions
5. Group forms by request type
In my former role as a web developer, I always considered a user’s capacity for processing information. Too many form choices can overwhelm a user. If you have more than 5 request forms, use the JSD “groups” feature to categorize the list.
6. Use unique form icons
Each request form has an icon. Make each unique and choose icons that visually communicate what each request form is for. If you can’t find the right icon, you can make your own. Atlassian recommends a 20px grid with 24px padding. Read more
Finally, and most importantly, make it easy, intuitive, and painless to complete Jira screens and Jira Service Desk request forms. The process should be simple for all users.
Rachel WrightCommunity Leader
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