Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability

  • 2h 4m
  • Caroline Jarrett, Gerry Gaffney
  • Elsevier Science and Technology Books, Inc.
  • 2009

Forms are everywhere on the web - for registration and communicating, for commerce and government. Good forms make for happier customers, better data, and reduced support costs. Bad forms fill your organization's databases with inaccuracies and duplicates and can cause loss of potential consumers.

Designing good forms is trickier than people think. Jarrett and Gaffney come to the rescue with Designing Forms that Work, clearly explaining exactly how to design great forms for the web. Liberally illustrated with full-color examples, it guides readers on how to define requirements, how to write questions that users will understand and want to answer, and how to deal with instructions, progress indicators and errors.

  • Provides proven and practical advice that will help you avoid pitfalls, and produce forms that are aesthetically pleasing, efficient and cost-effective.
  • Features invaluable design methods, tips, and tricks to help ensure accurate data and satisfied customers.
  • Includes dozens of examples — from nitty-gritty details (label alignment, mandatory fields) to visual designs (creating good grids, use of color).
  • Foreword by Steve Krug, author of the best selling Don't Make Me Think!

About the Authors

Caroline Jarrett was a project manager specialising in Optical Character Recognition when she landed a job delivering OCR systems to the UK Inland Revenue for processing tax forms. The systems didn't work and she found out that it was because of the way people filled out the forms. She became fascinated with the problem of how to design forms so that people find them easy to use—a fascination that shows no signs of wearing off, 15 years later.

Caroline runs the usability consulting company Effortmark Ltd in Leighton Buzzard, UK. She writes a monthly column "Caroline's Corner.'

Gerry Gaffney has always had a fear of forms. He met Caroline while looking for ways to help clients design better forms. She persuaded him that a dispassionate point of view about forms was essential to this book. Gerry remains strangely resistant to Caroline's obsession with forms, but is glad that someone cares that much.

Gerry runs the usability consulting company Information & Design in Melbourne, Australia. He was Managing Editor of User Experience magazine in 07/08, and he also produces the popular User Experience Podcast.

In this Book

  • Persuading People to Answer
  • Interlude—Registration Forms—What to Do If You Can't Avoid Them
  • Asking for the Right Information
  • Case Study—A Conference Booking Form—A Sample Question Protocol
  • Making Questions Easy to Answer
  • Writing Useful Instructions
  • Interlude—Providing Help
  • Choosing Forms Controls
  • Making the Form Flow Easily
  • Interlude—Farewell to Pop-Ups
  • Taking Care of the Details
  • Interlude—Serif or Sans Serif Font?
  • Making a Form Look Easy
  • Case Study—A Makeover
  • Testing (The Best Bit)