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Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability (Interactive Technologies) Paperback – 17 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers In (17 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558607102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558607101
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"The humble form: it may seem boring, but most of your website's value passes through forms. Follow Jarrett & Gaffney's guidelines, and you'll probably double your online profits. - Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group "This book isn't just about colons and choosing the right widgets. It's about the whole process of making good forms, which has a lot more to do with making sure you're asking the right questions in a way that your users can answer than it does with whether you use a drop-down list or radio buttons. - Steve Krug, Foreword author and author of the best selling Don't Make me Think "If your web site includes forms, you need this book. It's that simple. In an easy-to-read format with lots of examples, Caroline and Gerry present their three-layer model -- relationship, conversation, appearance. You need all three for a successful form -- a form that looks good, flows well, asks the right questions in the right way, and, most important of all, gets people to fill it out. - Janice (Ginny) Redish, author of Letting Go of the Words -- Writing Web Content that Works

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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Drys on 24 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Anyone who creates or commissions forms must read this book, by authors with extensive practical experience of creating successful forms. Although the sub-title refers to web forms, much of the content is equally relevant to paper-based forms.

The book is also a must-read for anyone who works in marketing, because it will give them an insight into why the design of forms must be user-centred, not simply to fulfill marketing requirements.

The book starts with an explanation of the three layer theory of forms: relationship, conversation, and appearance that forms the backbone of the book. It emphasises the importance of using persuasion to get people to fill in forms, and gives an insightful and helpful approach to the answers that people need to provide: the no-brainer "slot-in" answer, the go and find it "gathered" answer, the go and ask "third-party" question, and the think it up "created" answer.

It is easy to read, with many illustrations, and backed with strong references in the excellent Further Reading section. Supported by examples and interesting case-studies, this is a great companion to Janice (Ginny) Redish's "Letting Go of the Words" from the same publisher.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Krug on 23 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I wrote the foreword for this book, so obviously I think very highly of what Caroline and Gerry have to offer. (Eveyone who knows how much I hate writing will understand that agreeing to do the foreword means I *really* liked this book.)

Even though I make a point of recommending Forms That Work--along with Ginny Reddish's excellent Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies)--every time I give a talk anywhere, I haven't actually re-read any of it since it was first published. Then this past week when someone asked me a question about forms, I pulled my copy off my bookshelf. I found what I was looking for right away, but then I started leafing through it, just enjoying all the great advice embedded in the headings, and dipping into some of the text and illustrations. I have to admit, it was even better than I remembered.

Here's my advice: If you have a form on your Web site, do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
Forms are one of the more common parts of today's websites and also the cause of many usaility problems. As people use more transactional websites requiring them to provide information online the importance of forms will only increase. The mindset of users changes too once they encounter forms (the data protection fears come up and they often recall their nightmare worst registration form) so what may seem just a small thing can have bigger consequences.
This book is a great reseource from two experts in the field and thankfully, unlike many online forms, the book itself is quite usable. The illustrations and examples are great and make the most of positive and negative examples. Like another good resource, Letting go of the words , by Ginny Reddish it uses icons of smiley faces to indicate the problem or good example and therefore keeps the book skimmable. It is also quite comprehensive in the range of forms that it covers. Highly recommended for anyone looking for lessons on best practice in online form design.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Croxen-John on 21 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Jarret and Gaffney have written a book that on first scan results in you muttering 'Bloody commonsense, surely'. Improving online forms is commonsense, but there are still many atrocious examples out there to warrant a more thorough reading of this book.

The authors categories the users of online forms into

* readers
* rushers
* refusers

And it is these last two on which those running websites need to focus. Simply put, if someone refuses to complete your online form, because you have made it difficult for them, they are either going to pick up the phone, send you an email or visit a competitor's website - all of which will cost you money.

Although quite a few of the examples of poor forms are culled from government websites (slightly too many in my view) they act as great reminders of how not to do it.

The book is written in a engaging, folksy style (a la Steve Krug, who wrote the forward and is responsible for the seminal usability book 'Don't Make Me Think'Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability), and the authors clearly have lots of experience upon which to draw.

A few irritations would be the amount of blocked out details (note to authors: postcodes don't have to be real to get the point across) and the book's billing - Steve Krug, from Amazon's title description appears to be one of the authors - stretching it a bit in my view.

Overall, a very useful book and a poignant reminder that what seems to be obvious ways to improve online forms are just that - but sadly that website owners are still infuriating their users with poorly conceived forms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miguel Silva Alho on 16 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
As a developer, most of the software I create is about web forms, so it's naturally important that I create very usable forms so my customers can get a ver efecient environment.I bought the book in hopes of making my forms better. I'm interested in design, but it's not my point of expertise, and considering that I work on pretty much every aspect of my apps (from programming to UI design to documentation and deployment), I really need to know how to make 'em better.

This book helps a whole lot in that. The authors are clearly very experiencied, and indicate many of the do's and don'ts quite clearly, as well as explain how users usually react to forms. There where plenty of details to forms that I wasn't aware of and that I got a better understanding of, like the way you should ask your form's questions in a trustworthy way, how users look through and skim forms, how users handle options, among other things.

It's quite a good and clear read and well worth the purchase!
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