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Review: Web Form Design

It’s not hard to like a book on web forms that starts with the simple truth: “Forms suck.” Luke Wroblewski’s Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks is quite a good book, filled with practical advice told in an engaging manner. I can’t imagine any serious web interaction designer not having it on her bookshelf, although it doesn’t get into much beyond basic-HTML web forms. If you want detail on complex Flash or Ajax applications, you should look elsewhere.

Wroblewski tackles head-on the age-old question “Where does the label for the input field go?” that seems to arise ever few months on every web design mailing list I’ve ever ever been on. Hopefully Web Form Design will end that discussion once and for all.

The “Best Practices” sections at the end of each chapter are a really great resource, hammering home the points of each chapter. These alone are nearly worth the price of the book.

I like too that Wroblewski devotes sections to three areas that are so often neglected: help, errors, and confirmations. Poorly done, each of these can greatly affect the overall usability of forms (and any products really).

Back when I was doing web applications that were all form-based, I would have killed for this book. If you are doing anything resembling ecommerce, registrations, and account management online, this book is for you. Recommended.


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