Usability That Works: International Training in Usability and User Centered Design Skip to main content

Forms That Work

Understanding forms to improve their design
Forms: the part of the web experience where all your careful design gets translated into actual customer action. So easy to do badly, surprisingly tricky to do well.

This course concentrates on the human side of forms: how we react to, interact with, and think about forms and how to design them to make them as easy as practicable.

“Very nice mixture of hard (practical) and soft (form theory) advice.”

“Apart from being fun it gave us the opportunity to apply our new knowledge – I found the user testing fascinating.”


Outline of the Course

  1. Introduction
    • What makes a good form
  2. The information requirement
    • What information do you need to meet your business purpose.
    • Finding out what data your organization already holds and uses.
    • Relative business value and likely error rates on four typical fields on a form.
  3. Relationships: the users’ reactions to form
    • How people react to forms compared to other pages on a web site or in a package of documentation.
    • How the relationship changes from box to box as the user works through the form.
    • Trust and research on response rates in questionnaires as a basis for thinking about response rates / dropout rates on forms.
    • Creating a psychological profile of your users in terms of their views of the form task compared to other aspects of their work or daily lives.
  4. Conversation part 1: questions
    • How users answer questions.
    • How reading and legibility affects ability to answer questions.
    • How to choose the appropriate response spaces
    • Understanding the effort required in filling in forms
    • How users find the answers for a form
  5. Conversation part 2: topics and flow
    • How to split the form up into topics
    • How to create a flow across topics
    • Progress indicators and summary pages
    • Indicating required answers
    • Designing validations
    • Sorting out the instructions at the start of a form
  6. The appearance of forms: how to make a form look good
    • Visual aspects of typography
    • Using grids to make the form look orderly
    • Chunking - using graphic and other devices to divide the form into manageable areas
    • Where to place the prompts relative to the boxes
    • Creating a prototype form
  7. Testing
    • How to do layer checks
    • How to adapt usability testing for forms
    • Preparing and running a usability test


 One Day

Who Should Attend

People who are currently working with forms, surveys or web applications


Learn how to improve forms in three ways:

  • Achieve a better fit between users’ needs and business purpose
  • Create questions that are easier to answer
  • Design forms that look easier to fill in


Caroline Jarrett

Book This Course

To book a course, contact any of our instructors. We’ll arrange a convenient date with you.