Published by Gervase Willis at Saturday, June 09th 2018 09:13:26 AM under Form
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.
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.
Provide examples and guidance and notes at the point of need. Have you ever got half-way through a form and suddenly come to a question that asks you about something you do not understand or have no idea about where to find the answer? It is even more infuriating if the question says something like See our Guidance notes, page 6, paragraph 2. When filling in your forms people want the information they need there and then. Put yourself in the form users position and think about which questions they might have a problem with. Provide examples of the sorts of answers you are looking for, and where appropriate, provide guidance notes as near as possible to the question they relate to (i.e. in the actual form).