August 28, 2019 Form
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?
People from different cultures have different conventions for answering seemingly innocuous questions like this. Users will become frustrated if when you ask for an email address, for example, if the response box only allows for 20 characters.
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.
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.
Its 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.
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.