Forms: The Linchpin of Interactions – Part-2

In part-1, we have started with organizing and presenting the web forms with the questions, designed in multi-step forms, and covering points while considering progress indicators. 

User Actions:

A button click triggers a set of activities, for example, retrieving data or submitting a form. As you design a form, group these user actions into primary and secondary actions.

Error handling in the form

  • Primary and Secondary actions. 

They place buttons as primary and secondary actions. We call a usual path followed by a click as primary actions, whereas the secondary actions are the user diverting from his path.  

Some actions fail because of an inadequate distinction between primary and secondary actions. The best practice is to reduce the visual prominence of secondary actions, minimize the risk of error, and enforce a successful outcome of the path. 

  • Location:

Button locations play a primary role in user actions. Like having a back button in a large and complex form is in the less accessible area. The purpose is to not allow the user to go on the back page unless his intention. If this button is in the accessible area, the user can click them unintentionally and lose all the form data of the current page. 

  • Clear path

Assist the user to gain a clear path. The words like submit give the impression of form being generic instead, use the words like order. Avoid multiple options.

Maintain alike visual appearance of buttons, to maintain the similarity between the controls.

  • Validations:

Inevitable errors of form are natural data entry points. The validations can reduce the errors but not zeroth down. To reduce the error-prone conditions, never eliminate errors instead, try validating while the finishes entering. 

  • Inline validation:

Validation in proper location assists users in making fewer errors, especially during the completion of the long-form. It is best to provide inline verification while they type. 

The validation messages display correct messages. It talks to the user, tells them the wrong done with the right amount of words and color palettes, thus correcting errors before even submitting buttons. 

But cons to this are forms created for the data entry validation, that will wait until the user completes, and start validating as soon the user enters the data. 

It is necessary to have a balance for validations. The trend “reward early, punish late” is a hybrid strategy to satisfy the sides. Validate the correct entered data field after data entry and if the earlier state was invalid, then validate during data entry. It is necessary to satisfy only one clear path to eliminate other options, avoid giving the reset options at unwanted places. 

Tooltip overlapping the submit button.

Error handling and feedback: 

The error messages indicate the system status, they show the hurdle in input and provide the solution. But for an error message to be successful, users must see them and understand and act correctly. An error flow is essential to guide the user in correcting the mistake, so the user follows them correctly.

There are three principles to be followed while designing error-correction flows:

  1. Noticeable and understandable error message
  2. Locatable error fields 
  3. Fixing errors without memorizing.

The self-explanatory points can help to deal with designing error flows.

Here are some helpful guidelines for error flow designs.

  1. Using inline validation wherever possible.
  2. Showing success or failure for complex fields.
  3. To reduce user memory load, place the explicit, human-readable polite error message, next to the input field, Apply different colors for error and normal field status.
  4. Sparing use of confirmation talks.
  5. Avoid validating before completing the input.
  6. Avoid tooltips to report an error.
  7. Providing additional help for repeated errors.

Accessibility

Accessible forms are simple to understand, complete, and easy to submit. The instructions, errors, placeholders, and field formatting requirements must be identifiable. An intuitive and descriptive error recovery ensures the navigation and reading are logical. 

To ensure your forms are accessible, 

  1. The forms must be of the right size, legible with correct colors and contrast.
  2. Forms must follow plain language for users to understand expectable input.
  3. Ensuring screen reading compatibility. 
  4. For the user with no mouse accessibility, form filling should also work with a keyboard. Ensuring the forms use the required scripts to manipulate data, set focus, ensure the keyboard alone is enough to operate forms.
  5. Associating the labels with controls, so non-sighted users can use the screen reader to navigate through the form controls. 

Platforms:

You get users from different platforms accessing through various devices. Making the form responsive is essential that runs on other devices. Also, make sure it’s compatible with well-known browsers and the keyboard shortcuts on those platforms. 

The web forms must be accessible to all users accessing from different platforms. 

Adding visual design along with form

Visual Design:

Web forms are about visual aspects. Attractive forms are more likely to be filled fast. The visual aspects like the appearance of the form element, right usage of icons and progress bar, modern and clean layout don’t appear boring while filling forms.

Example of registration with an image as background

Emotional designs

Imagining leveraging human emotions in web forms isn’t difficult. All we want is pleasurable forms for our users. 

Forms gather data but you can replace the traditional icons or controls with controls displaying the emotions. Displaying the progress bar while the user fills the forms or using emoji to validate their usernames. Use stars or sliders to ask for feedback instead of asking for numbers. 

Nutshell: 

A good UX flow describes the tasks that are easy and satisfying to complete, and will lure users into a state of flow. It requires hard work to achieve a smooth path, for the best of its time. This article touches upon essential characteristics of forms like user actions, accessibility, text and location of the buttons. Most important is validations, as users will tend to make mistakes. We have also touched up how to make the form interactive using visual and emotional designs.