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

Re: Forms usability

From: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 11:06:29 EST
Message-ID: <17a.12061f0f.2b091885@aol.com>
To: markb@textmatters.com
CC: www-forms@w3.org, xforms@yahoogroups.com
In a message dated 17/11/2002 15:09:17 GMT Standard Time, 
markb@textmatters.com writes:

> We've been designing usable forms for a dozen years, originally on paper 
> and increasingly now online. We know that usable forms are
> . visually quiet
> . polite
> . unambiguous
> . transparent (that is, open and honest, with the consequences of the 
> form-filler's actions spelled out clearly)
> . helpful without being intrusive
> . easy to read and understand
> . navigable
> Apart from skills in writing, visual design and analysis, getting good 
> forms actually means understanding and sometimes modifying the business 
> processes which underpin them.
> One nice thing about all forms is that their effectiveness in use is 
> quite easy to measure (though it's seldom actually done). In particular, 
> forms improvement can be quantified through measurements within the 
> business process which they serve,
> Sorry if this is a bit lengthy - I can get carried away on this subject 
> quite easily...
> hope this helps


It is very useful. Thanks. 

But don't let that stop anyone else adding their 0.02 or $0.02. :)

Yes, I appreciate that a lot of good design is sanctified common sense. Yet 
it is *so* easy to get it wrong.

One of the issues I was pondering would be associated with your "visually 
quiet" notion. In the context of a future SVG / XForms profile I was thinking 
about how it might be possible to create visually attractive/sophisticated 
SVG/XForms forms without getting into the problems of the garish/loud forms 
that one or two current demos tend to display.

On an unrelated point, with your background in form design what are your 
thoughts on multi-page forms?

> -- 
> Mark Barratt
> Text Matters
> phone +44 (0)118 986 8313
> fax +44 (0)118 931 3743
> email markb@textmatters.com
> web http://www.textmatters.com

Mm ... I like it ... "text matters". Maybe I should take it as a motto for my 
next few comments on the XForms spec. :) ... Or maybe I should use my own 
domain EditITWrite.com as a hint (although the spelling of what I have in 
mind might differ slightly from the name of the domain).

Thanks for the helpful response.


Andrew Watt
Received on Sunday, 17 November 2002 11:07:48 UTC

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