- Series: Interactive Technologies
- Paperback: 199 pages
- Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (November 26, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558607102
- ISBN-13: 978-1558607101
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability (Interactive Technologies) 1st Edition
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“The humble form: it may seem boring, but most of your website’s value passes through forms. Follow Jarrett & Gaffney’s guidelines, and you’ll probably double your online profits. - Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group
“This book isn’t just about colons and choosing the right widgets. It’s about the whole process of making good forms, which has a lot more to do with making sure you’re asking the right questions in a way that your users can answer than it does with whether you use a drop-down list or radio buttons. - Steve Krug, Foreword author and author of the best selling Don’t Make me Think
“If your web site includes forms, you need this book. It's that simple. In an easy-to-read format with lots of examples, Caroline and Gerry present their three-layer model -- relationship, conversation, appearance. You need all three for a successful form -- a form that looks good, flows well, asks the right questions in the right way, and, most important of all, gets people to fill it out. - Janice (Ginny) Redish, author of Letting Go of the Words -- Writing Web Content that Works
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Top customer reviews
That's crazy! Forms are often overlooked or given very little attention in the
overall design, yet they are typically the most vital element in any web page or
This book covers everything you need to know to build the most effective forms
that correctly capture the user information you require. If you create forms of
any kind, read this book. I know you will learn something.
Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:
that require identifiable information. Also, provide an explanation of why
you're asking for such info either adjacent to the form or the form field.
* Three rules to influence response rates:
1. Establish trust
- make it easy to contact someone if the user needs help
- the form and required fields must have clear purpose
- must be professionally designed
- keep advertising away from the form
- 100% functional; no defects or typographical errors
2. Reduce social costs
- provide progress indicators
- keep forms short and easy
- minimize requests for sensitive or personal info
- design questions that users can answer
- user error messages that respect the effort the user is making
- preserve user's info to reduce double entry in case of a mistake
3. Increase rewards
- clearly explain or outline the benefits of properly completing a form
* Create personas to assist in form design decisions. Have people not directly
involved in the form design help you create "stories" of people who will
likely complete your forms.
* Form field defaults should favor the user. For example, uncheck the email
subscription checkbox; it's probably borderline spam anyway.
* If you ask for information from the physical world, tell or show the user
exactly where to find it. For example, if a product serial number is required,
show a picture indicating the location of the serial number on the actual
* Turn negative questions into positive ones. Do not use double negatives,
negative words, or negative phrasing because they make questions harder to
understand. For example, "Is the information we have wrong?" should be written
as "Is the information we have correct?"
Web forms are such an underappreciated part of the user experience. Almost every site has at least one, it often has as much impact on conversion rates and customer satisfaction as any part of the site, and it typically has major usability problems. But it usually gets a fraction of the attention that flashy features and functionality get.
When designers and marketers do focus on it, they have trouble reaching consensus on the best UX -- more so than with other areas in my experience. Marketers often see forms as a primarily about capturing data for analysis and for follow-up emails, leading them to ask for far too much info. Meanwhile designers often try to spice up this boring area by breaking conventions, leading to confusion and frustration.
Forms That Work offers the perfect antidote to this situation. The authors have many years of experience watching users interact with all types of forms, and they present their research and advice in highly practical ways. The book is well-written and well-structured, so is easy to read in sequence the first time or two. But for me its biggest value is as a reference source. Every couple weeks, I face a question around forms -- from progress bars to error messages to secondary buttons. Whatever it is, I always find it in the Forms That Work index, and within minutes I'm on much stronger ground.
Some aspects of forms have changed since the book came out a few years ago. But the vast majority has stayed the same, as has human behavior. Forms That Work will be highly relevant for years to come. It should be required reading for designers, developers, marketers, and anyone else who might influence a web form.
I bought this book at the same time I purchased Luke Wroblewski's Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks. His book is great but the limitations are there in the title. Luke W. has a great knowledge of design from the Web onwards. Many people forget that forms have been around much longer than the web and that UX design itself has decades of history predating the web. I can't say how clear it is to me that so many of the popular web-gurus out there don't know their roots.
Well, Carline Jarrett has been dealing with form usability since paper was the only way to go. The breadth of her knowledge lends itself to a much deeper understanding and offers far more insight into how users work with forms than any other book I've read. It's clear she has the expertise that someone who has only ever worked with web forms is lacking and as another reviewer put it this book is, "[the] missing chapters on forms from every other design book you've read." Forms That Work teaches you how to think about form usability from the ground up where Luke W's book reads more like a best practices compendium.
I'm also a huge advocate of accessibility and Forms That Work offers important information about keeping and making forms usable by everyone, another aspect that's missing from the other books out there.
Most recent customer reviews
2) I can give it to colleagues, and it is so attractive and engaging and comprehensible...Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition. Jarrett and Gaffney have done it with "Forms that Work."Read more