Web forms are the one thing that consistently stand between the customer and the product, as well as between companies and their profits. If the web form proves successful, the customer receives his product and the company, their money. Yet, if the form isn't successful, the company can bet that they have not only lost revenue, but a customer as well.
Thanks to a new book published by Rosenfeld Media, Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks, author and Senior Principal of Product Ideation & Design at Yahoo! Inc. Luke Wroblewski lays out the basic principles needed to apply toward the right design solutions for your web forms.
Like most of Rosenfeld Media's books, the chapters are organized simply and smartly so that readers gain a full understanding of web forms, giving them the confidence to feel capable and invigorated to tackle them online.
Wroblewski encourages readers to think about web forms as a "deliberate conversation" instead of as "the inputs for a database". That is, to approach it as a conversation that weaves intelligently and naturally from one topic into another, rather than scattering questions throughout.
Throughout the book, web forms are compared to many things, including cabinet making and interpersonal conversations, which is to imply that creating useful and successful web forms are about paying attention to detail. Whether it’s the way content is organized, the way form completion status is maintained, the alignment of labels, field lengths and types of input, everything impacts the design of the form in the eyes of the consumer.
At the end of each chapter, Wroblewski provides a Best Practices summary that outlines the key points. However, the book's use of rich web-based examples, from eBay to Amazon to Home Depot, you won't want to skip to the back of the chapter. Instead, you'll want to take the time to absorb each principle and gain from the perspectives of guest stars who offer their thoughts on topics like the Structural Design of Forms to Zen and the Art of HTML Forms.
For example, tabbing through inputs on the Office Depot registration form could result in a lot of page jumping when changing columns. From the book: Figure 3.11 -- Home Depot Form
Meant for anyone designing or developing web forms -- the usability engineer, web developer, product manager, visual designer, interaction designer or information architect -- Web Design Forms will help you to improve the design of your web forms as well as to make them engaging and useful. You can effectively skip from chapter to chapter depending on your skill set or needs, but most likely you'll find yourself drawn in from page one until the end. And even better, you won't be able to contain yourself when you return to your workstation, eager to take inventory of your web forms.
See for yourself. Learn more about Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks and order your copy today. CMSWire readers receive 10% off using the code CMSWIRE.