July 17, 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.
Pre-fill where at all possible. If a person has already filled in a form for your organisation they will be frustrated if they have to fill in the same information again. It is difficult for organisations to get their systems to pre-fill known information but when pre-filling is achieved, customers really feel valued.
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.
Customise response boxes to reflect required answers and reduce completion errors. If asking for a persons date of birth, it makes sense to provide a box with the exact number of required digits and an example or guidance note to explain the format that the date should be entered in (DD/MM/YYYY).
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.