Published by Nadine Paterson at Thursday, September 13th 2018 11:07:30 AM under Form
When implemented well, progressive revealing gives interactive forms a head start over traditional paper forms. When asked a particular question in a form it may be the case that, depending a users response, they are asked a set of specific sub-questions, or alternatively routed to the next appropriate section of the form. In paper forms the specific sub-questions cannot be hidden from the user when they are not relevant to them - but in interactive forms this is relatively easy to do. Use progressive revealing as much as possible in your form design to shield your users from questions they do not need to see.
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.
Make structure clear, and provide navigation to reinforce it. Your form will be divisible into sections so think about the broad groups of questions being asked. Whatever your groups of questions are, make sure they follow the right order and give the groups clear section names. Make the form sections visually distinct by setting the section name in bigger and bolder type, and consider including a contents list on the first page or screen to help people navigate their way through the form. Also make sure that you make good use of features like running headers and footers on every page to remind people what the form is, where they are, and what page number they are on.