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


From: Paul Sagi <pksagi@start.com.au>
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2002 10:45:08 +0800
Message-ID: <B1515491881@i01sv4138.ids1.intelonline.com>
To: "www-forms@w3.org" <www-forms@w3.org>
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.

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Received on Thursday, 31 January 2002 21:45:40 UTC

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