A wise man once sat on a high mountain. Many people over many years came to see him. They traveled from great distances and climbed the massive heights of the mountain to ask his advice and seek his wisdom. One day a website owner made the great journey, climbed the rocky inclines, and slumped down beside the wise man, huffed and puffed from their trek. “What can I do for you my obviously normally desk bound companion?” asked the wise man. “Aaah, nothin!”, replied the site owner, after catching their breath, “I just heard theirs its a fantastic view from up here thanks to the great feedback forms on my website! ” 🙂
Okay, its a pretty crummy introduction but if you look into it real deeply (and it does take some deep looking!) I guess I am trying to say that if your users can have easy to use forms on your website you’ll get all the feedback, suggestions, ideas and user interactivity you’ll ever need.
A well designed form can often make the difference between a user wanting to give you feedback and use the interactive features of your site or whether they simply turn up their nose and investigate another web site.
The top rules we like to follow are these :
– Use clear labeling of fields.
– Try and pre-empt user responses and utilize radio buttons,
pre checked check boxes and drop down lists when possible.
– Use tables (with color and alignments set) to aid the visual
layout of a form.
– Give additional descriptions, explanations, or help, on fields
that the user may question. Utilizing the status bar is
often a good means of doing this.
There are possibly other rules and ideas that other developers may use as well that are very useful. Our biggest recommendation is to visit other websites that use forms, look at their layouts, play with them (you don’t have to submit!) , and you’ll soon have the a picture of whats good and whats not!