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Web Form Design

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  731 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Forms make or break the most crucial online interactions: checkout (commerce), registration (community), data input (participation and sharing), and any task requiring information entry. In Web Form Design, Luke Wroblewski draws on original research, his considerable experience at Yahoo! and eBay, and the perspectives of many of the field's leading designers to show you ev...more
ebook, 226 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Rosenfeld Media
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I really liked this book.

I read a good handful of UX and design books... mostly because I’m curious how other people see my profession and also because I don’t believe that I can stop learning. I’m driven to keep consuming books!

The problem I have with a lot of UX books is that they just reiterate the same principles over and over again: put your user first, get feedback, design before implement, etc. The authors just find different ways of saying the same thing but within the context of their...more
Possibly one of the most influential books I have ever read.
Matt Jans
I really like this book. The chapters are very accessible to non-statisticians, and motivated by real analysis examples. It's a great "case study" text and introduction to applications of advanced statistical methods in social sciences. My only critique is that it doesn't have any (or very minimal) coverage of latent variable modelling (which is a pretty popular method in some social/behavioral sciences). I still recommend it.

Here's a link to my review in the Journal of Official Statistics. htt...more
Dec 21, 2008 Rick rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: web designers, information architects, interaction designers, designers
Shelves: design, technical
I took one page of notes. I struggled to stay interested, as the writing is pretty dry and straightforward. It's somewhere between principles of good information architecture, cognitive science/usability, and a recipe book for techniques. But it never grabbed me because I wasn't seeing anything terribly radical.

I've been an Information Architect and Interaction Designer for a few years now, and have dealt with my fair share of forms for social networking and B2B web applications. I was hoping t...more
Chris McDonnell
Most memorable quote
"Forms stand between user needs and business goals. People want to manage their information or create new artifacts. The businesses supplying these services are interested in growing and optimizing the amount of data or customer activity they manage. The barrier for both sides is, of course, a form...forms enable commerce, communities, and productivity on the Web to thrive. It's no wonder that form design matters."

Tweet review
A must read for web execs and empathetic designers...more
Aug 14, 2008 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Web developers and designers
Shelves: design
There’s a pretty good chance that you will fill out a form today… and tomorrow… and the next day.

Forms are everywhere you look–we rely on them for nearly everything from searching for information to ordering some goods to balancing your checkbook. As anybody who has encountered a poorly-designed form can attest, when forms are confusing or difficult to use they have the power to bring everything else down with them. A truly evil form can send your world spiraling out of control into a cycle of h...more
Kris Jou
The book's intro sums up what people think of forms best, which is 'forms suck'. We all know this; I defy anyone to say get thrills from filling out an immigration card where one poor wording might cost hours of red tape. It even has a bad rap among web designers/developers, because creating forms has largely remained just as much a chore as it had been in internet's advent (while new technology made other design elements much, much easier). What Luke Wroblewski's book isn't is a book that provi...more
Jun 27, 2008 Marty rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: web designers, usability folks
Good or bad, there aren't many books that I can use for my job that I go through quickly. There's just something about a limit to my absorption of information from these books that makes me take my time to get through them. However, that was not a problem with this book. Chock full of good information, Wroblewski manages to make it a quick, easy and yet informative read that only took me 2 days cover-to-cover.

For anyone that works on the web, forms are going to be something you deal with at one...more
Jun 11, 2008 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: user interface designers
Wroblewski provides an excellent overview of interface design best practices for Web-based forms. He also provides specific, real-life critiques of what works and what does not in various interface designs. In particular I liked the "Selection-Dependent Inputs" chapter where he subjects various design methods to usability testing and reports on the results. I also like his argument for avoiding forms altogether, at least until you have engaged the user.

Unfortunately, as of the time of this revie...more
A look at web forms and the best practices for various types of forms.

Mr. Wroblewski (which is fun to try and say) begins his book with a simple declaration: nobody likes forms. Forms, from an end-user perspective, are what stands between them and what they actually want, be it a product they are ordering, or data they want to see, or even an application they want to use.

Early chapters of the book focus on minimizing forms as much as possible, and, as such, reducing the overhead a user has to g...more
In my mind the definitive guide on web forms. If you hadn't thought about form design before... and there is a pretty small number of people of have then this lays out the principles you should use to make one. Outlines pros and cons of different approaches depending on context.
This is a great book if you want to learn about web forms in general. I really enjoyed this one :)
Great book. Teaches a lot about UI design, what layout and controls are better to use. After reading this book, I started to pay more attention to existing web site designs and learn what they about good or bad design, which never happened to me before I read this book
Caitlin (Ayashi)
Great book about all things forms. It touches on all aspects of form design (not necessarily form development, although there is a very small portion dedicated to that) chapter by chapter, gives a ton of examples you can refer to, and also goes over how all of the different solutions worked out with focus groups.

This is a wonderful read for any developers (or designers) who are hoping to learn more about forms. It can be a little bit more dry than some other web development books I've read, but...more
Adam Norwood
I do enjoy it when a book picks a specific focus, sticks to it, and delivers. One of the hardest things to get right on the web is gathering information from end users, and yet it can have a huge impact on your site's usability and (if you're a for-profit) your bottom line. This book lays out all of the common problems you're likely to encounter from a form design standpoint without dwelling too much on the actual HTML/CSS/JS/whatever implementation (which I think is great). An immensely useful...more
A must read book for anyone that wants to call himself a IA or UX designer. Web forms are essential elements of the web, and usually the ones that can frustrate the users the most. Mastering them, will help you create more user-friendly web sites and seamless online experiences. The author, Luke Wroblewski, is one of my UX heroes and manages to make a mundane theme like web forming, sexy and exciting. I definitely recommend this book if you ever plan to design a form.
This is by far the most useful technical book on my shelf. You can talk about UX and IA to developers and it just doesn't hit home until you specifically address web forms.

If you ever get a chance to attend a conference where Luke is giving a talk, you should definitely attend. Many conference talks preach to the converted or simply whip up enthusiasm for the topic at hand, but Luke actually gives practical advice and backs up his assertions with a lot of data.
Dan O'Keefe
Ok, not fiction. I probably shouldn't mix them.

But in the event someone ever asks me why there aren't any UX books on my shelf... This is a CLASSIC. Luke W. basically took all of the studies about web forms in the world and distilled them into one guide. That's like 150 pages. I'm pretty sure that's akin to taking Einstein's theory of relativity and adequately explaining it for a fortune cookie. Yep, I do not exaggerate. Amazing friggen book!
While this book does contain a lot of common sense ideas it has enough of what I hadn't thought about in terms of web forms that it was well worth my time. I already cited one of the chapters in a meeting where we were discussing how to we wanted to indicate that all form fields were required. It is great to have a reference like this to help assert authority when decisions need to be made.
This book is pretty decent. Does not get drawn into technical detail about actually coding the forms, but more about user behavior and attitudes surrounding what is really a rather boring/arduous phenomenon for web users. It seemed to be missing a little "uumph" at the end, but it could be the material itself moreso than the writing or formatting. A worthy title and a brisk read.
Rather one-sided view of the forms - this book is mostly about usability. Accessibility got pushed aside. It doesn't help that half of the information is rather obvious and straightforward to anyone with some knowledge about usability. I did like real life studies, graphs and statistics, but unfortunately felt that the book was a bit too short and not comprehensive enough.
Although the text is rather dry, forms are the bread and butter of interaction online and we have to get them right to sustain any kind of web presence. I give 5 stars to this book because of the importance of web forms and the deserved attention that the author has given them. Thank you Luke.
I really enjoyed this, which probably says a lot about exactly what kind of geek I am. Mmm, web forms!

But seriously: this is an excellent overview of the subject, and provides good data and reasoning for the recommendations given. If you work with web forms, it's worth a read.
Great summary of best practices to consider while designing web forms. This book definitely will force you to think for the users filling you web forms and if possible innovate ways to present your web forms and help millions of users from having to fill one less miserable form.
High-level survey of everything to consider when creating web forms, and there's lots to consider! The writing is a little dry and the example sites are just a tad stale, but the recommendations and crunchy user data are top-notch. I hope to see a second edition in a year or two.
A well-written book worth the effort and time to read it. As a matter of fact, I spent more time pondering it and implementing the principles of it and the ideas it generated than it took to read it. I do believe that the forms that I improved are now in a much better shape!
Dru Sellers
If you are just starting, then its a great initial exposure to the thoughts on web form design. If you are an old hand then its probably not worth it. For me (11 yr veteran) it was a nice refresher on the finer points of design, helped reacquaint me with my designer friends. :)
Shane Glass
Luke's book details the art of form-making. He provides plenty of research and screenshots of forms that don't work and ways to improve them to make them easier and quicker for the user. A good reach with common sense and not a lot of code getting in the way.
I know, thrilling - a book about form design on the web. this will reveal my true inner geekdom. If you use a form that I designed and it wasn't so painful, now you know why. Solid human factors design stuff for interface designers...
Makes some good points in an easily digestible way, but I'm not sure the cover price is justified. Probably something great to get from the library.

On the other hand, I wish more web designers would follow this advice,
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LukeW is an internationally recognized digital product leader who has designed or contributed to software used by more than 700 million people worldwide.

Luke was Co-founder and Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Bagcheck which was acquired by Twitter Inc. just nine months after being launched publicly. Prior to this, Luke was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Benchmark Capital and the Chief Design...more
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