Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability

Fun with forms

We admit it: most forms are designed with some serious purpose in mind.

But we rejoice when we come across a bit of forms humour.

Oatmeal describes how to do a shopping cart

This cartoon from the Oatmeal is full of good advice - but please don't visit it if you dislike strong language. How to make your shopping card suck less.

Can a radio button be happy?

User Interface Artist explains to camera how her emotions about her cat's illness are communicated in her form design. 

Forms elements maximum, response minimum

Sebastian Ly Serena in the Netherlands created a visually rich experience that ends up with a simple button to click. 

Er ... and the reason for that question was?

Spotted on a survey: cat wearing a duck hat? (from Twitter via @joylandrews)
 

The US military comment on the UK census

It's not often we come across a cartoon on the subject of form; still less often that it's from the US military. It's a Census, Not Censorship by Staff Sgt Austin May, 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, RAF Mildenhall,
 

Age last birthday

Censuses have been around for a long time. We came across this Punch cartoon from 1861 found by the Epsom and Ewell History Explorer project. 

 

A comment on forms processing

How long does it take to process an expenses claim? PHD comics dealt with that issue in 2011.

The form as political satire

In 2011, the UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox resigned over a political scandal. He was accused of improperly allowing associates to attend high level international meetings. This site lets you create your own Liam Fox Business Card.

The Citizen's Self-Arrest Form

The police department in the city of East Point, Georgia, US produced this Citizen's Self-Arrest form

The Form Response Form

In the early 1980s, the American Institutes for Research had a Document Design Center that did wonderful work in forms design, usability, and information design. They saw a tremendous number of poor forms, and issued a newsletter called "Simply Stated". In one of them, they included a 'Form Response From' that allows you to send a response to a poor form, in categories labelled:

  • "Evaluation" (example: "Your form is [] unfathomable   [] immoral   [] silly    [] the wrong one - try again"),
  • "Inquisition" (offering choices for you to ask questions about the form)
  • "Disposition" (to explain what you're doing with the form) and
  • "Penalties" ("If you fail to respond to this FRF within 15 days, you'll make me more upset than I am now"

Brian Sherwood-Jones of Process For Usability blogged about the Form Response Form; there's a downloadable .pdf of the form linked from his post.

Just personal enough: a correspondence response form

The science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein had a response form that he sent to every correspondent

Two of the choices:

"( ) Thanks for your kind words. You have made my day brighter.

( ) You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?"

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Last Modified 2016-04-27