Web Form Design best practice

One of the major elements of web design that often gets overlooked is form design. I will admit that I have been guilty in the past of neglecting this major part of web design. It is only recently since I have been reading the work of Luke Wroblewski that I remembered how important this is. One of the many reasons we don't spend enough time designing forms is because "Forms Suck!". No one likes filling in a form. As a web designer it is our job to make the process as quick as possible for the user.

Here are some of the top form design tips I have picked up:

  1. Get rid of fields that are unessential
  2. Keep your labels on top of your input boxes
  3. Make your submit (action button) button clear and left align with the form
  4. Get rid of cancel buttons and allow people to save progress on longer forms
  5. Use input masks to indicate what needs to be entered into the field
  6. Help text should go under the input field  if required
  7. Save people time and use smart defaults

Paying attention to the details of form design can have a very big impact.

Luke Wroblewski

What elements do you think makes for good form design?