I can’t really answer that without context, but let’s put it this way: tax forms or some government application, banking or medical records, those need to balance whatever they are doing with ensuring it is as easy to use as possible. Almost everything else is more stupid than those forms.
The way people talk about business metrics you’d think that customers were obligated to give you data, with headlines like, “You aren’t running your company correctly if you don’t have big data!” Putting aside the complicated decisions around “strong passwords”, a safe bet would be that the only two pieces of data a form needs is a username and password. Everything else is extra.
When I made a payment form (currently living at https://last.interi.org/pay/) I made all the fields required, but I only included required fields: amount, email (for receipt), and credit card info (granted that is technically five fields, but I can’t think of another pattern to use).
On the other hand, my contact form (https://last.interi.org/contact/) has three fields associated with comments or email: message, name and email address. But only “message” is required, because that is all I really care about. But then again, I don’t show names in my inbox, so maybe that is a maiki-quirk…
My point being, each potential form should just be looked at and run through two questions (at the least):
- Which of these fields do we need a person to fill out?
- What else would be nice to have, knowing we will annoy them with each addition?