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Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks Paperback – Color, May 2, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Luke shares his secrets in this book, which should be required reading for every graphic designer, project manager, interaction designer, or usability researcher who might ever work on a Web form. Web Form Design is that rare book capable of transforming the way an entire field does its business. --Communication Arts

Luke Wroblewski has written one of the best books on user experience and web usability that I have read for some time. It deserves a place on every user experience or web designer's bookshelf. --The Designer's Review of Books

I highly recommend this book for both new and veteran web designers. It will help you to think more strategically about web forms, which will make them more successful. Your clients and their customers will benefit from your newfound knowledge and you'll feel like a genius. --Viget Labs

About the Author

Luke Wroblewski is currently Senior Principal of Product Ideation & Design at Yahoo! Inc. and Principal of LukeW Interface Designs, a product strategy and design consultancy he founded in 1996. Luke has authored a book on Web interface design principles titled Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability and numerous articles on design methodologies, strategies and applications including those featured in his own online publication: Functioning Form. He is also a frequent presenter on topics related to Web startegy and design and a former member of the board of directors of the Interaction Design Association. Previously, Luke was the Lead Interface Designer of eBay Inc.'s platform team. At eBay, he led the strategic and interaction of new consumer products (including Kijiji and eBay Express) and internal tools and processes including design pattern and creative asset management systems. Luke also taught interface design courses in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked as a Senior Interface Designer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), birthplace of the first popular graphical Web browser, NCSA Mosaic.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; 1st edition (May 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933820241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933820248
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Duffield on April 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a member of its target audience, I found this to be a tremendous book. It's perfect for web developers who know (X)HTML and CSS but are clueless when it comes to the design process itself. The only thing to beware of is the large number of errors that should have been caught in the editing process.

I do a decent amount of PHP/MySQL and Javascript/AJAX work, so I have to already know how HTML & CSS operate. I don't need to be told what a div element is, or what a style declaration looks like. I am the least creative person on the planet, though, and this book feels like it was written specifically for me. I can't think of higher praise than that. It takes you through the process of building a site - not just what a good webpage looks like, but how a whole site is structured and fits together and ways to make that come alive through design. I never felt confused, but never felt like the authors were moving too slowly, either.

This is my third book by Head First (I also have the HTML and AJAX books), so I already knew that I liked the Head First writing style - perhaps a little light on technical side, but the lessons get driven home. The reader simply retains material from these books, and that is tough to find in most technical books on the market.

Again, the only thing to watch out for is the sloppy editing; there were a few too many editing errors for my taste. I still gave the book five stars, though, because it was just that good.
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Format: Paperback
The book is almost exclusively focussed on forms on public websites, such as eCommerce or social networking sites. As a result, the studies cited and undertaken by Wroblewski investigate how users interact with forms they are not accustomed to.

In other words, the goal of the book is to optimize forms for novices, not necessarily for proficient users. In itself, this goal is laudable, however, it ought to have been made explicit. As things stand, it is uncertain if all or which parts of the advice applies to forms whose users interact with them regularly and know them well.

By the standard of this book, complex forms are a mistake. And this may well be true for public facing sites. The situation is different for in-house applications that incidentally have a browser-based user interface. On these, unfortunately, the book remains silent.

I'd like to have seen a discussion of interactive controls beyond the native HTML text fields, drop downs, check and radio boxes. I'd like to have read how to make the best of fluid or elastic page layouts, as it is, all examples assume fixed-width layouts. A chapter on the construction of forms using semantic HTML and CSS wouldn't have been out of place either.

What's missing most of all is an extended case study that goes through all the stages of designing a realistically complex form.

After all this criticism, I'd like to point out that what is there in the book is very solid. As things stand, though, there remains much to be said.
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Format: Paperback
Head First Web Design is a invaluable tool in planning and building web sites and follows the excellent pedagogical principles of other books
in the Head First series. It is also unique in teaching the entire life cycle of building a usable, information-rich, beautiful, navigable, and accessible web site, and not being confined to illustrating the graphical layout of beautiful web pages. It illustrates, the sketching, information design, navigation, and customer interaction issues involved in developing a sophisticated, content-filled web site and prepares the developer to perform a well-managed design and implementation process. The guide does assume that the prospective web designer have familiarity with HTML, XHTML, and CSS, but that is an entirely reasonable assumption for any web designer and is well served by the HTML/XHTML volume in the Head First Series. This is an excellent and most necessary book for the design of sophisticated information architectures, and usable beautiful web sites that serve both the user and the organization that commissioned them.
--Ira Laefsky
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Format: Paperback
The scene is all too familiar. You're presenting wireframes of the registration process for a new web application when the discussion veers down a dark alley. The sky has turned the color of black ink, and you can smell sulfur in the air as one team member after another debates the alignment of form labels. Before you can toss up a quick Hail Mary, marketing says that the opt-in for marketing solicitations has to be defaulted to yes, and you can feel your soul sucked out of your body through your nose as a simple one hour meeting turns into a 3 hour discussion over the pro's and cons of inline validation while your stomach grumbles because you just missed. I have heard this war story many times from many interaction designers and information architects, with little variation except in the details. What we need is air cover in this battle to design better forms. Now, it's here.

"Forms Suck!"

And so Luke Wroblewski begins his new book on web form design with a canon shot across the bow, providing just the air cover and ammunition interaction designers need; and every review, including this one, is going to begin with a first impression of the book.

Mine was: Boffo.
(bof·fo (bf) Slang, adj.: Extremely successful; great.)

Wroblewski opens "Web Form Design" with an exploration, from a strategic perspective, of why users interact with forms. News flash: It's not because we like to. It may seem obvious, but the truth is, interaction designers need to confront the truth that a user's goal is to get to some successful outcome on the other side of a form - as quickly and painlessly as possible. We want our iPhone, tax return, or account with Facebook. We don't want to fill out forms.

"Forms suck.
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