Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hey, nice form

Filling out forms has been part of life since......since.. maybe forever. Remember all the job applications you filled out trying to find your first job? That was lame.

So you can't really complain about online forms, for the most part they are basic, get the job done and aren't too frustrating (accept for incorrect tabbing order, choosing your country/state and hitting the cancel button instead of submit because it's located in the wrong place, or having to deal with endless error messages because required fields aren't indicated....ok. it's a little frustrating) but there are some gems out there.

Yesterday I filled out a form that was just peachy so I thought I would grab a couple screenshots and give some props.

Exhibit A: big fat fields with big fat fonts.

i can't get enough. when you get a form like this where the words dance across your screen happily with each entered letter you cam't help but feel like we have moved into the new generation of form filling. Aside from feeling good, being easy and looking nice, this type of form is great for grandpa and grandma.

-2 points: for cancel button being the same size as submit and so close to the next button.

Exhibit B:
You're doing good honey. Keep going. You're almost there.

Reinforcing good user behavior and confirming that things are moving along well is awesome. The motion of the check mark appearing on screen is like a big scratch and sniff sticker on your math homework.

Exhibit C:

There's no mistaking it....an Error has occurred.

I like this on two levels.

As a User it's clear, you can see that something happened and you don't have to find it amongst the graphic design. Yes, I know that you have to select OK and that this is another step, but you know, it's a trade off and I'm fine with it.

As a Designer, WHY don't I do this. Using system messages is easier and takes less design time. This will eliminate like 5 comps, because you always have to comp up the error message states.

So good job TheMoment. I'm looking forward to checking out your product...if you can get me to enjoy filling out your forms, I have high hopes:)


Anonymous April 7, 2009 at 5:19 PM  
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Stacy Westbrook April 7, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

I'm with you up until using a system dialog instead of comping up an error message. And that's only because I regularly click those dialogs closed (or just hit return to close) without reading them, then I'm back at my form and confused as to what was wrong with the data I entered. It's a bad user habit, but I do it constantly then regret it.

David Hamill April 8, 2009 at 11:36 AM  

On a small form like this a system alert might be OK. But I'd steer clear of them in general.

Think about what happens when the form is long or there are multiple errors.

Having a few alerts pop up, one after the other is confusing/annoying/punitive and they disappear, so you can't refer back to them.

tyesha April 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM  

Stacy and David,

Both great points which illustrate the need to be flexible and aware to the particulars of each interaction.

I may have been wrong about the system messages, but it has sparked some discussion so that's good:)

Thanks for the comments.

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