Applied Interaction Design
Illustration by John Hersey

Applied Interaction Design

with David Hogue

Video: Improving form structure

We've confirmed that all of our boquets are in our shopping basket, the mixed rose collection and our custom boquet. Let's go ahead and proceed to check out, I know that these are the items that I want to purchase. And so we move forward. Now, checkout is one of the most common form experiences that people have online. And so it's really easy for us to talk about form structure by looking at a checkout process, because we've already got expectations and mental models for how this should work. Let's briefly talk about good form field practices first.

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Applied Interaction Design
1h 49m Beginner Jul 11, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Dave Hogue has been studying how people interact with digital devices and interfaces for over 15 years, and knows how design can make or break a website. In this course, he shares a hands-on approach to improving interaction design for a better user experience on the web. This course breaks down the components of an example site, from its homepage to categories, content, and the shopping cart, and introduces common customer scenarios that can be used to identify opportunities for improvement. You'll learn how to enhance navigation, gather feedback after interactions, manage content layers, and add features such as infinite scrolling, collapsible modules, and dynamic content to enrich the user's experience. Then compare the before and after websites to understand why these techniques make them more engaging and effective.

Topics include:
  • Defining a customer scenario
  • Improving navigation
  • Working with content in grids
  • Establishing a sense of place on category pages
  • Exploring infinite scroll and pagination methods
  • Using tooltips to deliver contextual content
  • Working with light boxes and layers
  • Improving form structure
  • Handling errors and presenting effective error messages
  • Comparing the original site to the enhanced site
Subject:
Web
Author:
David Hogue

Improving form structure

We've confirmed that all of our boquets are in our shopping basket, the mixed rose collection and our custom boquet. Let's go ahead and proceed to check out, I know that these are the items that I want to purchase. And so we move forward. Now, checkout is one of the most common form experiences that people have online. And so it's really easy for us to talk about form structure by looking at a checkout process, because we've already got expectations and mental models for how this should work. Let's briefly talk about good form field practices first.

There is a tremendous amount of information available to tell us how to create better forms on web applications and on websites. So this is going to be just a really quick overview. We did talk in more detail about form structure in the Interaction Design Fundamentals course, and there are many, many resources available online. As well as books that help you understand how to do this more effectively. But first we always want to make sure that we are using this correctly for the data collected. Remember we don't want to make people work too hard entering the information that is necessary to complete some task. We want to make sure that we are using descriptive labels and that they are near the associated form field.

People have to know what type of information is being requested. We want to make sure that we are placing the form fields in a logical and meaningful sequence. In other words, we're asking for information in the ordered people are accustomed to giving it. We don't typically ask for a last name before first name, State before City or the last four digits of your phone number before the area code. So just make sure that the sequence is correct. Also we can use structured inputs to help us reduce formatting errors. If complex data entry is necessary, then we can help people make sure that the format is accurate and the information is complete.

We also want to indicate what's required and what's optional. There is no need for people to enter information that is not really necessary for them to complete there task. And remember, never ask for more information than is absolutely necessary typing is effort. And so we don't need to ask for information that is not necessary for the task people are trying to complete. So what are some of the issues with the original Hansel and petal website? Check out. Well, first off, the labels are okay. They could be more clear.

We have to assume first name, last name, and 2 address lines That's okay. We're hoping that we're asking for zip code first because maybe we'll be smart and be able to use zip code as a look up and then pre-populate city and state. But you'll also notice that all of these form fields are exactly the same width. They look like they're going to take the same amount of information. A good general rule is create your form field at a size that indicates how much information may be entered into it. So address lines tend to be longer than name fields because we tend to have more characters in our addresses.

And zip code is only 5 digits. So we don't have to have a field that could hold 20 or 30 digits. So, we could actually provide some additional cues to people by changing the size of the fields. We also have shipping method over here. And you'll notice we're just showing grand total. Well, as a design pattern this is not very good. The grand total, $89.95, when people are checking out, they expect to see a list of the things that they have purchased. Not just a total of their costs.

And we've already encountered this problem once before on this site, we're using the wrong form filled type for the information. So FedEx two day service. Well one I don't know how much that's going to cost but it also appears that I could choose all four of these shipping methods. Now clearly I don't want to pay for all four. This makes people think a little bit harder, and work harder, to say oh, this is the one that I want, and uncheck the others that I don't want. And then, oh, unfortunately, we still have this problem of, if I have a coupon code, and I can get a discount, as soon as I give this field focus, I have to manually remove all of the text Input is in there. So, once again, we're really making people work for this information, and to complete this form field.

So let's see what we can do to actually improve this. If we jump over to the improved Hansel and Petal site. Once again, here's our shopping basket with our items. We've got the better information in summary, and we move forward to checkout. Okay, now you'll see there are several things going on here that are better. First, we have included some additional status and progress information. I now know exactly how many steps its going to take for me to get through the checkout process, and I know that I am on the first one.

We've improved the label names so that I do know that it's first name, last name, and address line. Now this might seem like a minor change, but we also need to be thinking about accessibility and whether or not there are disabled people using this website. And if they're using a screen reader, first, last, address, address, doesn't make as much sense. But first name, last name, address line one, and address line two, does. So, even minor changes in content can improve the usability.

We're using variable width fields here, so that we can say, zip code is a small amount of data. Address is a larger amount of data and first name is an average or medium amount of data. We've also got optional indicators. I don't have to have a second address line. I don't have to include a gift message. We've also moved our shipping methods to be in line with all of the other form fields. In other words, everything that I have to choose is grouped together, the Gestalt Principle of Proximity, so that I do all of my work in one space.

I've also included pricing, so that I know, exactly how much each one of these methods will cost, and, I can only choose, one. Finally we have a much improved summary over here. The items that I am buying, an itemized list of my pricing, and even the ability to put in a coupon or promo code without having to delete all of the information that was already there.

There are currently no FAQs about Applied Interaction Design.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Applied Interaction Design.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.