Editing and Manipulation: Using HTML Input Controls to Accurately Capture Users' Data 149 Figure 8.22. The Broadmoor's reservation form uses two monthly calendars appropriately integrated into the reservation form. Although this implementation requires additional engineering effort and image production, it is clearly a superior design from a user's perspective. It not only satisfies the requirements for providing context and preventing errors, but it does so without introducing usability problems. Owing to the transaction orientation of many Web applications, selecting and entering dates are common interactions. Unfortunately, the requirements for an ideal date interface dictate significant design and engineering efforts. The results of this effort, however, are more control for the user and fewer errors--two benefits worthy of substantial effort. Summary In most applications, the number of form pages is dwarfed by the volume of view pages. A lower number, however, should not be assumed to mean less complexity or importance. Creating forms with integrity and elegance is one of the most difficult and important challenges of the interface design process. Well-designed forms are a critical component of an intelligent, enjoyable, and sat- isfying user experience. By contrast, poorly designed forms inevitably lead to user frustration, con- fusion, and disappointment. If resources are limited and time is in short supply, forms are perhaps the single most important area in which to focus your efforts. Here are a few of the key design principles to keep in mind: · Pick an appropriate pace.Do not overwhelm users with long forms that intimidate. Likewise, do not insult them with needlessly simple forms that fail to contain a task of satisfying dimension. · Limit navigation. -- In general, the navigational paths out of a form should be limited to explicit Submit and Cancel actions. Eliminating navigational elements from a form focuses users on the task at hand and prevents them from exiting the form without definitively saving their changes.