Articles are listed from newest at the top to the oldest at the bottom.
Keep up to date with the latest articles by subscribing to the Formulate Information Design email newsletter or RSS feed.
Except for in some very special circumstances, the research shows you shouldn't separate paper form text fields into individual characters.
When is a form not just a form? When it's also a document!
Sure, it's a disappointing joke, but it's also a serious opportunity for better design.
Some questions appear simple but are actually surprisingly complex. We've looked at ‘Name’ before, now we turn to ‘Sex’, also sometimes interchangeably — but incorrectly — known as ‘Gender’.
In this post we'll peel back the layers and look at just which piece of information you need, and how to ask for it.
By not prioritising good form design, online retailers are leaving millions on the table.
Sometimes we ask form-fillers to provide the exact same information — e.g. email or password — twice. Why do we do this, is it a good or a bad idea, and what are the alternatives?
Learning best practices is a crucial part of being able to design good forms, but it's not all you need. As this article will describe, sometimes the biggest challenges are less tangible and require "softer" skills.
In this article, after summarising the principles of well-designed error messages, we walk through a good example from a live website.
We're finishing our series on visual perception and the design of forms with one of the simpler Gestalt principles: similarity.
The law of proximity is one of the most straightforward of the visual perception principles to apply, yet poor implementation leads to a great number of hard-to-use forms.
People have a remarkable ability to find the text boxes on a form and fill them in. In this article we'll explain why, and exactly what is needed for this to work.
In this article we come to one of the meatiest aspects of visual design that influences the perception of forms: colour.
This is the second in our 6-part series on human visual perception and its influence on the design of forms. Nicely related to our previous concept of shape is this article's topic: size.
This is the first in a 6-part series on human visual perception and its influence on the design of forms. After introducing the series, we look at our first key visual element: shape.
In this article we’re going to look at every aspect of mandatory versus optional fields, including: what the two different types of fields are; how they should be indicated; and indeed whether there is a need to distinguish between the two field types at all.
Formulate takes a closer look at some recent eyetracking research for forms design.
Are you skeptical about whether poor form design really matters? If so, you're not alone. The impact is, however, considerable, as we show in this article.
When discussing survey forms, questions about behaviour are often called "factual questions" to distinguish them from questions about opinion or perceptions. The use of the term "factual" is a misnomer, however, and in this article we'll look at why.
How should elements be aligned on a form? This article provides some solid, evidence-based recommendations for an often hotly-debated topic.
24-30 August 2008 is Privacy Awareness Week, so we thought we'd take a look the issue of privacy and the collection of personal information on forms.
Most forms contain at least one question for which respondents must choose one or more options from a predefined set. These predefined options are the closed question response categories.
In this article, we're going to unpick what makes a good (or not so good) set of response categories, culminating with a simple-to-use checklist.
Judging a form is about making an assessment of quality, usefulness and/or suitability.
Many people judge forms just by looking at them. This article demonstrates why this method of judging is lacking and suggests alternative approaches.
Here in Australia, 6 - 13 June 2008 is National E-Security Awareness Week. It seems like an apt time, therefore, for us to provide an overview of some key security issues for electronic forms, particularly those on the Web.
We all know what a paper form is, partly because they've been around for an awfully long time. Electronic forms, on the other hand, are relatively new. Consequently, there is still plenty of confusion about what exactly an electronic form is.
Is electronic form synonymous with entering data using a computer? Does it include forms that are filled out on the Web? What if the form is just a snapshot of an existing paper form?
In this article, we explore the spectrum of different electronic form types and present a useful framework for describing just what is an electronic form.
When people hear the term “form design”, they usually think about graphics and layout or questions and answers. What they don't often think about is the process around the form.
The process, however, is pivotal as it influences the design of every part of the form.
This article explores the analysis of process, including the importance of documenting the information need.
Need to design a form and can't get past that blank piece of paper or screen? Maybe you've been charged with reviewing an existing form and you don't know where to start.
This article describes a way in which a form or questionnaire can be broken up into individual layers, making the design and review process easier and more efficient.
So you have a form, and you want to make it 'good'. Where do you start?
In this article we present a simple model for assessing the quality of a form.
Today, 8 November 2007, is World Usability Day.
This year's theme is Healthcare, so we're having a look at the usability of new patient questionnaires.
You might be surprised to learn how many problems we encountered in such a relatively simple and common form.
Practically every form asks the form-filler to provide their name. What seems like a relatively straightforward question actually turns out to be quite complicated. Learn what the complications are and how to deal with them in this, our latest article.
In this article we explore the ways to report importance data from direct measures, and also consider an alternative way to indirectly measure importance.
There's often a need to measure importance. For example, a government body may want to measure what services are most important to the public. Knowing the relative importance of different options helps with prioritising resource expenditure.
However, measuring importance accurately is, a little more difficult than it might sound. In this article we explore the best ways to make such measurements.