Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the love of web forms!

It may seem to you, faithful reader, that I have become a little obsessed with web data entry forms lately. Apart from being the front end of company databases that we crash into most regularly, it is also a reflection of the fact that I am currently working on a book about .... web data entry forms!

But I am not alone in this obsession. My colleagues across at the Data Value Talk blog have decided to try to think positively and to collect some examples of GOOD web data entry screens. If they get enough, they'll open up a competition for the best examples.

So, if you come across any well-designed (or badly designed!) web data entry forms, take a screen dump and scoot along to the Data Value Talk blog - I, for one, look forward to seeing them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stop. Step back. Think.

Has creating web input forms become automatic? Does anybody ever test the forms they put online? Does anybody ever stop, take a step back, and think things through?

Yesterday, faced with yet another clone form expecting of me a typical United States' address, I came to the inevitable drop down requesting (no, demanding!) my state. The company gave no option to clear this field, nor to choose a non-US variant, so, as they had kindly defaulted to Alabama, I moved on.

For the next field, country, I chose "Netherlands". And look what happened:

Those who know me and my work will know that I have hammered on for years about making web forms dynamic, and that input fields should change on the basis of country and language. But why (oh why?), when a company follows this mantra, are the fields that cause this dynamic change ALWAYS added AFTER the fields that they change? Is it a conspiracy to annoy the customer? To make the customer work at their very hardest in order to buy the products?

Or is somebody just not thinking things through?