Published by Byford Colon at Thursday, June 07th 2018 06:58:50 AM under Form
Form length does not directly correlate to complexity. Many assume that making forms shorter makes them easier to complete. Though shorter forms might be cheaper to produce initially, if the reduction in content results in user confusion, the cost of resolving completion errors form fillers make as a consequence can significantly outweigh any initial savings. In general forms do need to be as short as possible, but never at the expense of clarity and usability.
Use appropriate response mechanisms. Paper forms have the disadvantage that users can miss, or simply disregard, an instruction. For example, only tick/check one box from a list of 15 or 20 options. In this context interactive forms can be programmed so that the user can only tick/check one (known as a radio button as distinct from check-boxes), or presented with the options in a drop-down menu from which the user can only select one. When designing forms make sure the response mechanism is appropriate to each question.
Use colour strategically. Colour in forms should be used with care - but used well it can really aid form completion and navigation. In general, yellow, for example, is a colour to avoid as much as possible - text set in yellow on a typical light background can be very hard to read - and people can find yellow aggressive. A light shade of a colour, like blue, across the whole background of a form relieves the eye from the harshness of a stark white background. And if the answer spaces people have to fill in are white, the tinted background both cues them in to where they write, and allows them to visually sense how much they have to fill in.