Forms Link Dump

Published in Web Development on Thursday, July 8th, 2004

There has been a lot of posts on the topic of forms lately. This is a link dump for future reference.

There has been a lot of posts and other information published about forms lately. Having not paid too much attention, we've assembled a small link dump so that we can get up to speed and perhaps come up with a 'forms best practices' here in house. No one likes forms (I think), but hopefully all of this info makes things simpler.

A lot of these links were found by visiting Dez Woz Here, one of the best linkyards of the year, no doubt. Nonetheless, there's bound to be some good stuff missing; if you see a hole, feel free to fill it in in the comments!

The Web Standards Project - Accessible HTML/XHTML Forms:
Beginning Level
Intermediate Level
Advanced Level
37 Signals - SVN
Amazon gets even more Defensive
The Man in Blue
Styling Form Widgets
Accessible, stylish form layout
Stuff and Nonsense + DHTML & CSS Blog: Stylish Scripting
Trimming form fields
Stylish, accessible forms
Easy bulk changes with DHTML
Colly Logic
Send form details to email with PHP
Bobby van der Sluis
Form layout with CSS: a short literature study. Lots o' links there! (via)
FORMS: Friends, Not Foes!
Brainstorms and Raves
Terrific Accessible, Usable Forms Tutorials

Comments and Feedback

I think what the world probably needs is less tips for how to CSSify and accessify your forms and more articles on how to design a friendly, intuitive form from an interaction standpoint - what data to request when, why and how to break a form up into several pages, how to express help text, how to notify the user of mistakes, and that sort of thing (the sort of articles SvN puts out).

Good form design isn't about fieldsets and clever background images and Javascript for Africa, though those can help - the interaction itself is the most important part, and the part people seem to spend the least time writing tips about.

I've spent the last 4 months building an ecommerce engine, for my sins, with about 40 administration forms of varying sizes and tasks - and I for one would dearly love some solid, professional guidelines on form interaction design.

Hey Alun, if you have any tips or links as a result of your experience pass them on. I had wanted to get into this here, but wound up just dumping these links due to a lack of time.

Things such as what is the best (easiest) way to set up forms and validation over several steps etc. I guess what you call 'form interaction design'.

I was hoping that some of these links may have that type of content; I have yet to follow them all up, but we have an extensive bit of form building coming up and finding an efficient and accessible way to do that is something that we are after.

I suppose that the customized nature of a lot of data input forms is what keeps there from being any sort of 'magic bullet' solution...

Good resource. Here is what a presention I gave on designing forms a while back. It expains using fieldset, label etc. Enjoy, I thought I would add to your list Mike.

TransFormers: Styling Form Elements

Nice stuff, Blake, thanks. Forms can look so nice, when you don't have to do all of the backend work!

And Heywood, thanks, I didn't know that book existed.

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