Help users provide additional information that might support an application or other transaction.
This is a fairly common pattern in government services, and is often misused, so we need to provide guidance around it.
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Sometimes users want to give additional information, on top of the information that you have obtained with your questions.
Provide users with a way of giving any additional information which might be useful.
When to use this pattern
Use with caution
Used appropriately this can be a really useful way of getting extra information from users. However, it shouldn't be used as a replacement for a well designed form. It's best reserved for specific questions which may have complex or unpredictable answers. Don't just add one at the end of your transaction for 'anything else'.
How it works
If you give people an opportunity to tell you their circumstances in detail then they'll take it. You should make it clear what will be done with the information. In particular you should clarify how the information may or may not affect the outcome of their goals, so they don't spend a lot of time telling you things for no reason.
A single white box for typing into can be intimidating. Help users by giving them examples of the kind of things you'd like them to tell you. Test carefully though to make sure that the examples aren't biasing the responses you get.
Queen's Awards for Enterprise application form
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise application form has lots of questions like this.