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

Actions in progress


From:

Web Form Design Best Practices

with Luke Wroblewski

Video: Actions in progress

Sometimes even when we get to the end of the form and hit the primary action, things might take a bit. That is, you may need to process some information, calculate some data or even upload a file. In these situations we want to provide feedback that actions are in progress. Here is a situation we'd like to avoid. Do not click the Submit button twice; you may actually get your credit card billed twice. Look at the amount of legal text in the second one. We run the risk of having our credit card charged. The issue here is that the burden has been put on the user, on our customer, instead of being taken on us.
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Web Form Design Best Practices
3h 46m Appropriate for all Oct 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, interaction designer Luke Wroblewski shows how to create web forms that encourage visitors to enter information and covers ways to capture input without the use of forms. The course covers boosting conversion rates and customer satisfaction, organizing the structure of forms, aligning and grouping form elements, assigning the correct input field types, validating input, and handling data entry errors. The last chapter highlights alternatives to static forms, such as using dynamic inline forms, using web services, and leveraging device capabilities, which can be used to gather additional information or replace a traditional form altogether.

Topics include:
  • Understanding why forms matter
  • Deciding on the form length and structure
  • Adding tabs to a form
  • Creating required fields
  • Adding input masks
  • Creating selection-dependent inputs and actions
  • Displaying success and error messages
  • Adding inline validation
  • Understanding gradual engagement
  • Enabling touch and audio input on devices
Subject:
Web
Author:
Luke Wroblewski

Actions in progress

Sometimes even when we get to the end of the form and hit the primary action, things might take a bit. That is, you may need to process some information, calculate some data or even upload a file. In these situations we want to provide feedback that actions are in progress. Here is a situation we'd like to avoid. Do not click the Submit button twice; you may actually get your credit card billed twice. Look at the amount of legal text in the second one. We run the risk of having our credit card charged. The issue here is that the burden has been put on the user, on our customer, instead of being taken on us.

The system should instead of giving this type of message, disable the primary action so that people can't make a mistake, and then provide a little bit of feedback about what's going on. Let's see how that can actually happen. On the 37signals' site, Basecamp, we can see an example of this principle in action. When I click Post this message with an attached file you'll note the primary action turns into an animation. That is, it's letting me know that something is going on. I can no longer click that button again; therefore, I can no longer make a mistake.

Up at the top we see another animation that actually tells us why things are in progress. A file is being attached, that may take a bit to upload, okay, now I understand what's going on here. The feedback and the disabling of the Submit button actually let me know that actions are in progress. Disabling the Submit button doesn't mean hiding things from people until they're ready. So on this example of a form for getting online, how do I actually submit the form? That's right, the primary action has been removed until I click a single radio button, which then pops up this Activate link.

This isn't what I mean by disabling the Submit button. What I am talking about disabling the Submit button, I mean, letting people know that something's been in progress and that their action has been registered. Not that they need to hunt around for how to actually complete a form. While we are on the topic of streamlining actions, a very common pattern at the bottom of the form is the Agree and Submit. That is, you need to agree to a series of legal terms or privacy policies and then hit a submit button. Problem with this approach is that many times the Accept and Agree Checkbox is unchecked, because lawyers are expecting us to actually take an affirmative action indicating that we agree to that.

What happens is, people go through the form, don't see that checkmark, click Join Now, and get an error. A much easier solution at least in terms of streamlining, is to actually put in text like this. By clicking on the button below, I agree to the Terms of Service. Therefore no checkbox to miss, and there's still an affirmative action gained by clicking on the button. eBay Express has gone even further and removed the I Agree type of language, instead making the button really aligned with what people are trying to achieve. In this case they are trying to register.

So the text at top says, By clicking "Register" you agree to the privacy policy and terms of use. But there is only a single button, no checkbox. This opportunity to streamline things gets people through forms more quickly and effectively. In general, with Actions In Progress, what we want to do is provide an indication that something is going on. We don't want to put the burden on our customers by telling them, "Don't click Submit twice or we will charge you twice," that seems really unfair. Instead, we want to communicate these actions in progress by disabling Submit buttons, turning them into animations, and giving a sense of what's slowing things down.

A file is being uploaded, some data is being calculated, whatever it may be. Last but not least, while we are talking about Streamlining Actions, consider an opportunity to streamline legal requirements. This is a common area where people get tripped up in web forms and end up with errors. You can simply move things to a single action and have that action labeled, the primary thing that people are trying to complete. Purchase, Register, that'll get people through forms more quickly and on their way to the good stuff.

There are currently no FAQs about Web Form Design Best Practices.

 
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 Web Form Design Best Practices.

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


OK

Upgrade to View Courses Offline

login

With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

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:

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.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
lynda.com provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now
 

A trusted source for knowledge.

 

We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that lynda.com helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

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.