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Question About Creating An Account Settings Page


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I am creating an "account settings" page and I had a design implementation question about it that had to do with these forums, and after talking with Hartleysan about it he suggested that I write a post here and get your thoughts.


Basically, I am creating a page where a user can change their email, password, or other private information all in one form just like the account settings page in this forum. I modeled mine almost exactly like this one! All fields are blank until filled in and when they click the submit button, the sections that are filled out will get processed, and if there are any errors within them, then they will be displayed. I have noticed too, that aggregating all the account settings into one form is becoming more popular recently as users don't have to choose from several options just to change their password.


Hartleysan thought it was a little confusing at first, and said that unless you read the help text at the top, it might not be clear what was expected from the user. I personally think that if a user is going to change any of their credentials than yes, they do need to read a couple of sentences if they don't fully understand what to do. I just think it adds clutter to have 3 separate links to the pages that would need to handle these account edits. What are your thoughts on this? Are there any good practices for implementing something like this?


Thanks for any help or advice you may have,



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