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Pitfalls to Avoid When Designing Forms  (View post)

Josha [PersonRank 0]

Monday, August 25, 2008
11 years ago4,428 views

Nice article!

The link to the clickable radio button text is not working.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Thanks Josha, fixed now!

Michael Schwarz [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

11) in many forms I miss keyboard handling. Hitting Enter often reloads the page instead of submitting the form. ESC should close a dialog (i.e. calender popup inside the page), Enter should put the selected date in the parent calender input control.

Michael Schwarz [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

12) date inputs as well as number inputs with decimal point (or comma) should use the language settings of the client or the configured language settings of a logged in user.

Joe L. [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

I would like to reemphasize #9 – DO NOT MAKE ME enter data in your exact, precise format. That is what computers are for.
Does it REALLY matter, for example, if I enter 123-456-7890 for a phone number instead of your preferred (123) 456-7890? Are you too stupid to tell the difference, or is your script too stupid to convert one format to the other?
And dates too – must I REALLY enter a leading 0 to a day or month? Is it really going to break your database if I put 3/1/08 or 3-1-08 instead of 03/01/2008? If that breaks your system, that is your fault, not mine.

bwaje [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

13) Always warn the user : if you're going to let him wait, tell him!
Using a loading bar is the best info to avoid the user to quit or click elsewhere.

Michael Schwarz [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Joe: #9 I would like to see more date inputs as "tomorrow", "next Friday", "1st Friday in March". The worst thing I every noticed was a year input where you had to enter 1/1/1990 instead of onyl 1990. Seems to be the internal date format, too.

Alexander van Hoorn [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Michael Schwarz' #11 :
At the (Dutch) Rabobank mobile phone service (www.rabomobiel.nl/rabomobiel/p ...) if you enter your phone number and press enter, the search form at the top right will be submitted instead of the form of the phone number. I think this is even worse.

Freiddie [PersonRank 7]

11 years ago #

They should try to make "standardized" input codes for simple (yet complicated) things like interpreting complex dates, time, phone numbers, or addresses. This makes it a lot easier for the web developers, and you can also make more "perfect" forms that accept nearly everything you can throw at.

Tony Ruscoe [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> Is it really going to break your database if I put 3/1/08 or 3-1-08
> instead of 03/01/2008? If that breaks your system, that is your
> fault, not mine.

But how does it know whether you're entering the date in US or UK format? That's nobody's fault, so you need to be able to handle it.

> I would like to see more date inputs as "tomorrow", "next
> Friday", "1st Friday in March".

Then you should wish more people used datejs:

datejs.com

sanbikinoraion [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

google calendar and – bizarrely – outlook both do natural dates really well. I think it really depends how often a user is using a form and what the form is for, though. Train timetables and so on it is probably better to restrict to date-only entries (and perhaps "today" & "tomorrow") just so the user is completely sure what day they are booking for!

Michael Schwarz [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

[put at-character here]Alexander: yes, this is what I hate... and a lot of web sites are doing this bad thing (sometimes they don't know that it is possible to hit enter).

kL [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

Limit styling of web forms only to IE and Firefox 2 please!

All Mac OS X browsers and Opera and Safari on Windows have their own, very clear and very pretty form controls. If you set border or background, they will default to ugly, squareish, early '90s style of boxes. Yuck!

Marc-O [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

great post.

made me remember that pretty nice picture:
stuffthathappens.com/blog/2008 ...

I would add three things to the list, though they are not very related to the forms themselves:

#. Don't force your custom high requirements for user passwords.... Must contain lowercase, uppercase, numbers, special characters, some weird unicode symbol, must be at least 14 characters long, must be prime when converted to hex....

#. Lay low on the user agreement and legal text. Nobody reads that, and it's of budious legal value.

#. Please, no captcha (unless it's absolutely necessary).

Bill Tucker [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

One thing I really get annoyed by is forms that assume I live in the US. My phone number does not fit the (###) ###-#### format, my address really has no state, my postal code is not 5 digits, and my street address is 5 lines long. And dates here are dd/mm/yy, so a form that shows me dates as, e.g., 11 Aug 2008 are really appreciated.

Related to that is forms that get too clever by half, like those that use Javascript to reformat a credit card number as you type it to insert dashes every 4 digits. Problem is, it means that I can't just copy and paste the CC#. (Before you scream, it's saved in an encrypted format, and I'm careful to clear the clipboard afterwards.)

Oh, and when you display or e-mail a receipt that people might want to print? Make sure it fits on both A4 and 8.5x11 paper.

Travis Harris [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

<<#. Don't force your custom high requirements for user passwords.... Must contain lowercase, uppercase, numbers, special characters, some weird unicode symbol, must be at least 14 characters long, must be prime when converted to hex....>>

Hear Hear!!!

(love the prime when converted to hex part!!)

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