Chapter 66. Forms

As you work through your designs, it is only a matter of time until you have to design a way for users to give you information. Forms are one of the places you will spend a lot of your time, usability-wise. They cause confusion, mistakes, and loss of engagement, and they are one of the most valuable parts of your site.

If they aren’t one of the most valuable parts of your design, why are you using a form? Did I mention that they cause confusion, mistakes, and loss of engagement?

One Long Page or a Few Short Pages?

The most common question with regard to forms—from UX designers and marketers alike—is “How long is too long?”

It is a good general rule to keep forms as short as possible, but don’t be afraid to break it into pages if it makes sense, or if you want to save the input in steps just in case the user quits in the middle. The main thing is to make a form feel simple. Keep related questions together; eliminate questions you don’t really need; and use as many pages as you need, no more, no less.

Input Types

The purpose of a form is to get input (i.e., information from the user). And there are a number of ways you can collect it. Whether you use a standard text field or a super-custom slider, you should choose the input type that gives you the highest quality answers.

For example, let’s say you want the user to pick their favorite type of goat. Checkboxes and radio buttons are both ways to let the user pick from a list of options. However, checkboxes allow them to ...

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