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Significance Of Web Forms In Web Design

What are web forms?

Web forms on the web page are the basic tools that interact with the user , collecting the feedback and responses on different areas of web transaction and also on the web usability statistics. The user will enter some data in to the web form which will be sent to the server by a scripting language and will be validated and processed later.

Basic elements of web forms
Generally forms can be technically defined in any programming languages like HTML, Perl, Javascript, .net etc, thus minimizing overheads involved in time, cost and risks. In HTML, a form can be defined using a form tag .

Some basic elements of web forms include

Text boxes
It allows the user to include a single line of test like name, password etc. The title of the text box should be very short and meaningful.

Text areas
These are fields where user can input multiple rows of data like descriptions,feed backs etc

Drop-downs
These are cascading menus which provide a list of options for the user to choose from.

Multi select
Here the user can select more than one option.

File
 Button used to browse or upload files by user.

Radio buttons, Check boxes, Buttons etc are also commonly used in web forms.

How to design usable and effective web forms?
The accessibility and usability of the web forms on a web page define the success rate of a site, to a large extend. There are various areas where the web designer should give extra focus on while designing the website. Following are the few out of these:

Select an appropriate form layout
There can be different layout for the design of web forms but it will depend upon the content or data that should be collected from the user. Accordingly, the designer has to decide upon whether to have a one-column layout or two-column layout. It is recommended to use a one-column layout if the form is very straight and simple. In a one-column layout design, the title of the field will appear first and just below will be the text box to enter data. In two-column layout, labels and fields will be in two different columns.

Form validation
In-line form validation using jQuery will eliminate all the ambiguity involved on the part of the user to enter data. This will make the web form more user-friendly making the data entry faster and error-free.

Pool related fields
The same or related fields can be accumulated together in a web form making it easier for the user to use the web forms.

Accurate description for each fields
The labels of each fields should in such an manner that it should be simple and meaningful. The user should understand the exact data requirement of each field in the web form.

Relevant error messages
In case of any error or in correct information entered by the user, proper error messages should be displayed indicating what went wrong and how to correct it.

Inform the user when form is complete
Once the user submits the form, don't let the user wait for decades. Inform him that the process was completed in a successful manner.

Web forms can be anything ranging from a simple sign-up form, contact form to shipping or credit card transaction data form . The only thing is that the forms on the web page should be simple and precise, convincing the user to make use of it.

Ethan Dao is the Managing partner of MNMLIT, a successful partnership venture and a New York website design company with profound experience in latest trends of e-commerce web design and development.

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