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Usable forms for e-commerce

Since people don't enjoy filling out forms, you should minimize the annoyance by making them easy to use. Andrew Starling form Web Developers has some tips on how to design usable forms at e-commerce sites.

Some highlights:
- Don't ask too many questions and don't collect information that will never be used.
- Don't ask for the same information twice.
- Don't make fields required unless they are in fact required for the transaction
- Add explanations for required fields, where the reason for it isn't obvious.
- When using radio buttons and dropdown boxes, don't forget a "no selection" option, if the selection is optional.
- Long dropdown lists may be clumsy but they make error rates go down for things such as country and date selections
- Don't clear form entries that where perfectly valid when you send an error message.
- Separate required transaction forms from optional customer profiling forms
- Judge your usability success by how many forms are badly filled in

Links:

  • The article Usability and HTML Forms

Henrik Olsen - December 08, 2003

See also: Tips and guidelines (63)  Forms (11) 

 

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