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9. Forms > Creating Effective Forms

Creating Effective Forms

Properly done, a form can provide an effective user interface for your readers. With some server-side programming tricks, you can use forms to personalize the documents that you present to readers and thereby significantly increase the value of your pages on the Web.

Browser Constraints

Unlike other graphical user interfaces, browser displays are static. They have little or no capability for real-time data validation, for example, or for updating the values in a form based upon user input, giving users no help or guidance.[70] Hence, poorly designed web forms can be difficult to fill out.

Make sure your forms assist users as much as possible in getting their input correct. Adjust the size of text-input fields to give clues on acceptable input, such as five-character (or nine-character) zip codes, for instance. Use checkboxes, radio buttons, and selection lists whenever possible to narrow the list of choices the user must make.


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