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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 28: Forms UX Deconstructed

A Form represents a conversation between an organization and its customers. Good forms are quick, painless, and are a pleasant conversation between the business and their users. Poor forms result in a painful dialogue, one that a product’s users will not want to repeat. Great forms can make long interactions feel shorter. Get them wrong and interacting with your product feels like hard work.

If you put users at the heart of the design process, filling in your forms will be a breeze.

Key user tasks and questions

Users generally don’t want to be filling in a form. For most online transactions it’s a necessary evil. Typically, users will want to:

Complete the form in as little time as possible.

Understand how to answer the questions correctly.

Provide the bare minimum of information.

Trust that their personal details are in safe hands.

Complete the form in one go, without having to come back later with additional information. If they need to break to find extra information, they won’t want to lose the work they’ve already done.

Typical business goals

Forms are often the transactional workhorses of an online business. A lot of effort will have gone into attracting customers and persuading them to buy (or otherwise convert). It’s essential to continue that good work into the forms where the all-important user data and payment details are collected. Businesses typically want their forms to:

Aid as many transactions as possible: show minimal ...

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