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Chapter 11. Using Forms and Interactive ... > Design Corner: Effective Form Design

Design Corner: Effective Form Design

Form design is something of an art, but the basic principles are easily understood. They were examined earlier in this chapter, but a checklist for forms design is always a good thing to have. Here is one you can use:

  • Be up front with your visitors—Tell them exactly why you need the information they submit via the form, and how you will use it. If they might have privacy concerns, address these suitably and honestly. You should have a clearly written and understandable privacy policy, to which your visitors have easy access.

  • Do not clutter the form—Keep it simple.

  • Keep the questions brief—In addition, proceed from the general to the specific.

  • If you want an item of information but don't absolutely require it, indicate to the user that filling in that particular field is optional—Better yet, if it really isn't necessary, don't ask for it.

  • Do not ask leading questions.

  • Do not ask ambiguous questions.

  • Test the form before putting it into service—You want accurate information, and if there is a way to misinterpret a question and give you incorrect data, people will find it.


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