W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms@w3.org > February 2002

RE: forms

From: Kit Davies <KDavies@categoric.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 14:10:14 -0000
Message-ID: <F44C0A9E4905D411BC880090271F468E06AD5C@postoffice.intranet.categoric.com>
To: www-forms@w3.org
Hi Paul,

I largely agree that form-filling can be the most frustrating experience on
the web.

But 2 points:
1. Any site that makes the job of filling in it's online forms a nightmare
will probably lose business (as you say). Form design is like any design,
whether the form is online or paper. Badly done and it's as user-friendly as
a caged tiger. But no specification or technology can guarantee good design.
So I'm afraid it will always be up to the website designers to produce good
designs, whether they use XForms or anything else. (PS. See X-Smiles for
some good demo XForms)

2. The P3P project tries to address the issue of informing the user (or at
least the browser) what information will be required by a site from them,
albeit in a more general way. When sites start implementing this, and
browsers start supporting it, that may solve some of your issues about not
knowing what data a site will require.


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Sagi [mailto:pksagi@start.com.au]
Sent: 01 February 2002 02:45
To: www-forms@w3.org
Subject: forms

it should be possible to view an online form and see what information
is requested, before filling out the form; rather than fill out a
page, click on "next" or "continue," fill out the next page... before
discovering what info will be requested. further, it should be
to interrupt filling out the form and return to it later, preferably
at the point one left off, thus mimicking hardcopy. until and unless
online forms conform to the characteristics i've stated above, online
education, banking, ordering of merchandise and other online
activities cannot and will not reach their potential. many online
transactions are abandoned partway through. why? it's those damn
online forms that require filling out of many boxes, not allowing
proceeding to the next page until the form is complete, not allowing
viewing the form before filling it out and not allowing going back and
forth through the form.  those characteristics were thought to be
great, force people to fill things out in an orderly consistent way
and data is easy to obtain. but people resist control and have
curiosity.  they also have lives outside filling out forms, phones
ringing, kids coming home from school, etc., that demand they abandon
the forms for awhile, to return to them later. people also want to be
able to make informed decisions, which they cannot when information is
hidden in forms and cannot be accessed because they have not completed
the previous page of the form. asking for completion of a page of a
form before showing the next page of the form is saying "i'll give you
some information if you'll first give me some information." that flies
in the face of peoples' expectations about informed consent and
informed choices. imagine the anger and frustration of someone who
fills out 4 pages of forms only to find on the last page that they are
required to provide information they consider private and confidential
and don't want to give. what do they do? abandon the transaction in
disgust and don't return to that website. they also become reluctant
to deal with similar forms on other sites. once bitten, twice shy.

Fertilise a mind - plant an idea.

Get your free Australian email account at http://www.start.com.au
Received on Friday, 1 February 2002 09:10:17 UTC

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