slide1 l.
Download
Skip this Video
Download Presentation
Why Web Forms Stink and What You Can Do About It

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 53

Why Web Forms Stink and What You Can Do About It - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 134 Views
  • Uploaded on

Why Web Forms Stink and What You Can Do About It. Darlene Fichter http://library.usask.ca/~fichter/ Data Library Coordinator, U of S Library. Overview. What is usability? Why test? Usability techniques. Web forms. Forms and Information Anxiety Form Controls Best practices Pitfalls

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Why Web Forms Stink and What You Can Do About It' - RexAlvis


Download Now An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
slide1

Why Web Forms Stink

and

What You Can Do About It

Darlene Fichter

http://library.usask.ca/~fichter/

Data Library Coordinator, U of S Library

overview
Overview
  • What is usability?
  • Why test?
  • Usability techniques
web forms
Web forms
  • Forms and Information Anxiety
  • Form Controls
    • Best practices
    • Pitfalls
  • Resources
forms
Forms
  • Every web site has forms, some have dozens of forms
  • Forms are vital tools
    • Request materials
    • Ask questions
    • Register
    • Pay fines
user s mindset
User’s mindset
  • Filling in forms is a necessary evil
    • Paying bills
    • Your tax return
    • Job applications
    • Your tax return
  • Our job is make the experience as “pain free” as possible
remember when
Remember when
  • Filled out along form only to be told you entered something incorrectly but no clear feedback about “what”
  • Then you hit back only to find that the details you had entered were not preserved, and you have to fill the whole */£$%^*£ thing over again
  • Your information doesn’t fit – won’t accept your address or your order
designing usable forms
Designing usable forms
  • Tune into what the users want to accomplish with the form
  • Organize the information in a natural way
    • arrange the requests for like-information together
    • all of the address information can be collected at once and in a conventional order
      • street, city, state, and zip code.
primed for action
Primed for action
  • When users follow a link to a form, they expect boxes and arrows
  • NOT a wall of text
  • A wall of text is
    • Intimidating
    • Boring
    • Painful

Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002 http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20021223.html

wall of text
Wall of text
  • Simply bad design
  • Most users will hit back if they can
  • Skip the text
  • Guess when answering the questions, never referring to the text above
  • A few may try to scroll up and down
    • losing their place
    • wasting valuable time

Death

by

mouse click

common complaints
Common complaints
  • Too hard
  • Too long
  • Irrelevant

Information anxiety strikes – they worry …

will this form be a waste of time
Will this form be a waste of time?
  • Tell the user the purpose of the form
    • Create a clear descriptive title
      • Ask a Librarian
        • You will receive a response to your question within 24 hours.
how long will it take to complete
How long will it take to complete?
  • How many pages is it?
  • Tell them
    • Page 1 of 4
    • This survey will take 10 minutes to complete
  • For long forms, tell them if they can stop and resume, or if you must complete in one sitting
how long
How long?
  • Keep forms short
  • Focus them on one activity
what will happen to the information i enter
What will happen to the information I enter?
  • The comments about this workshop will be forwarded to the Training Coordinator
  • Users guard their privacy
    • How many times did Bill Gates or Fred Flintstone complete your survey?
improve accuracy
Improve accuracy
  • Often you can improve the accuracy of forms simply by telling the user why you’re asking for the information
    • “We may need to contact you by email or phone to find out more about your question.”
be conversational
Be conversational
  • Try to start with “H” or “W” words
    • How many
    • Where
  • Ask a Librarian
    • What’s your question?
    • How will you use the information?
    • Where have you looked already?
slide17

Why we’re asking

Just the question?

what if i make a mistake
What if I make a mistake?
  • Make sure your questions are clear and unambiguous
  • The selection options are appropriate
  • Form validation
    • Check the data to see if matches
    • Numeric or character
    • Fixed length - 11 digit library bar code
will this form ask irrelevant questions
Will this form ask irrelevant questions?
  • What does the office fax number have to do with ordering pizza?
  • Users hate compulsory questions, especially when they cannot see the relationship to the task at hand
questions don t match your experience
Questions don’t match your experience
  • You’re forced to answer, in order to proceed
  • Limit the use of required fields and the number of “closed” ended questions
  • Allow user control and freedom.
    • Please select from the choices
    • Other: _____________
leverage real world
Leverage “real world”
  • Expectations about the sequence of information and grouping of information
    • Library card application
      • Like many applications
      • Start with:
        • Name, address …
let users be your guide
Let users be your guide
  • Change your mindset
  • Rather than insisting that users must complete all survey questions, the form validation process could send a polite message:
    • “You have not completed questions 3, 6 or 7. Would you like to complete these questions, or simply submit the form as is?”
    • Then let the users choose, and then accept their answer.
form controls
Form controls
  • Lots to choose from
    • Text boxes
    • Checkboxes
    • Radio buttons
    • Drop down lists
    • Multiple select drop down lists
text boxes
Text boxes
  • Great for entering short tidbits of unique information such as a person’s name
  • Faster to type the city than scroll through along list

+ User has lots of freedom

    • Data errors
example phone numbers
Example: Phone numbers
  • A balancing act between giving users freedom and ensuring data integrity
  • Free form, or a series of preformatted text boxes
considerations
Considerations
  • International phone numbers
    • Free form is better
  • Accessibility
    • screen readers will only see the label for the first text box
  • 3 boxes are slower
  • 3 boxes give clarity about what data is wanted
decision time
Decision time
  • Err on the side of being inclusive
  • Back end scripting can parse out miscellaneous punctuation and improve data integrity
text field pitfalls
Text field pitfalls
  • Size of the text box matters
    • It tells the user how many characters you expect
      • For example, a postal code or zip code box should be quite short; but a street address box should be considerably longer
    • No label
    • So short the user can’t see (and prevent errors) n their typing
      • Teeny, tiny search boxes
text areas
Text areas
  • Great for free form answers when the user is asked to provide a long answer
pitfalls
Pitfalls
  • Accidentally be set up so the text doesn’t wrap
  • Size matters
  • Enter key behavior
    • enter” key is set up to automatically submit the form
check boxes
Check boxes
  • Select one or more options from a list
  • Short lists with 5 to 7 options work best
  • Save time over a drop down list; see it right up front
pitfalls35
Pitfalls
  • Dozens of checkboxes
  • Poor labeling
    • users aren’t sure whether to “pick one” or “pick many”
  • Failure to predict the options that users would like to see in the list and not providing an open-ended, “Other:” option
best form practices example
Best form practices - example
  • Clear purpose
  • Sequence #1 and grouping of trip elements
  • Labels
  • Free form destination
    • Back end testing, pick from list if you fail
  • Dates
    • Offers a choice
radio buttons
Radio buttons
  • Best used when there is one choice, and only one, that must be chosen
pitfalls39
Pitfalls
  • Poor alignment
    • the buttons are not clearly adjacent to a particular label
  • Unclear or ambiguous labels
  • The “lone ranger” syndrome
    • offering just one radio button
feeling cornered
Feeling cornered
  • Users can’t deselect all radio buttons once one has been selected. They feel cornered. Give users an out like “none of these.”
drop down boxes
Drop down boxes
  • Excellent for picking one item from several, such as names of cities, branches of a library, etc.
  • If possible, supply a default
pitfalls42
Pitfalls
  • Overuse; everything on the form is a drop down box
  • Items in the drop down list are not in a logical order to the users
  • The label is part of the drop down list rather than being adjacent to it
list box
List box
  • Few items to hundreds from which to choose
  • Select single or multiple choices
  • Show a reasonable number of options in the display area to facilitate scrolling through the list
pitfalls44
Pitfalls
  • Failure to give directions on how to select more than one
  • Error prone and often difficult for users to learn how to select multiple
  • The order of the items isn’t logical to users
  • Several choices start with the same word(s); scanning is slowed down
submit button
Submit button
  • Position it close to the last field
  • Make it look like a button
  • If it’s a graphic submit button, make sure there is a text equivalent for screen readers and non-graphical browsers
pitfalls46
Pitfalls
  • Putting the submit button in a non-standard location
  • Making the submit button look like a hyperlink rather than the standard button
information design
Information design
  • Use color, white space, headings and labels to make the form clear to users
  • Don’t overuse lines, colors and borders and create “chart junk” and clutter
help just in time in line works best
Help: just in time, in-line works best
  • Neiman-Marcus
  • Provides a description of the search tool with callouts and descriptions directly below the search area

Divide and Conquer: Providing Web-based User Assistance at the Point of Use. Scott DeLoach www.winwriters.com/articles/embedded/

example expedia
Example: Expedia
  • Clear section heading
  • Use of # and color to group
  • Logical order
  • Fields labels
  • Fill in destination
    • Back end matching
  • Date
    • 2 choices
examples what could be better
Examples: What could be better?
  • Interlibrary loan form
  • Room booking
testing
Testing
  • Observing at least 2 or 3 users filling out you form
  • Review the form submissions to spot trouble
forms52
Forms
  • With some conscious effort, we can make web forms much better
  • Keep in the mind, as developers we must:
      • Ben Schneidermann
        • "Design test design test design test."
      • Edward Tufte
        • "Design think design think design think."
thank you
Thank you
  • Questions?

Darlene Fichter

University of Saskatchewan Libraries

library.usask.ca/~fichter/