Forms Really Aren’t Boring
Earlier this week I attended BathCamp #29, a monthly evening meetup with a focus on web, mobile, design, hacking, startups and more. This month a friendly invasion of Bristol folk resulted in three excellent talks curated by Alan Colville.
Joe Leech, UX Director at cxpartners, was up second and started off by telling us that forms really aren’t boring! Never have I seen so much passion for an area of design that most of us shy away from. It was a great talk and certainly worthy of a quick write up.
Forms 101 courtesy of @mrjoe
- Mentioning that your web sites forms are “secure” statistically results in users being more concerned about security, not less
- Don’t use inputs that users aren’t used to. New HTML5 controls such as sliders and spinners are great for designers and developers but are confusing to most people.
- Make entering data simple. Date pickers and salary sliders are hard to use, especially ones that allow you to pick your salary to the closest pound. Use logic to turn results into usable computer based formats.
- Don’t give users choice when it comes to buttons, e.g. don’t have a “cancel”. If people need to go back or drop out of the form they will find a way.
- Place call to action buttons at the bottom right of the form as it’s what we are used to
- Don’t auto tab for people as most users aren’t used to this “helpful” feature
- When it comes to getting users to answer honestly, think of smoking related questions on a health insurance form, having a photo of June Whitfield above the questions results in more honest responses. If you can’t use June then a photo of eyes is a close second. For those not sure who June Whitfield is read this WikiPedia entry.
- Put really hard questions, for that read long winded and boring, at the end of the form. If a user has invested time into completing the majority of the form they are more likely to complete the harder more time consuming questions as they are almost at the end.
- Don’t put red asterisks to denote a required field. The less confusing way is to mark the non required fields “optional”.
- “Verified by Visa” is quite possibly the worst form ever. Big companies like Amazon and E-Bay prefer to pay the “fine” levied by banks for not using it in order to provide their customers a much better user experience..
You can find the slides that accompanied Joe’s talk on his personal site.