Pinterest, the online pin board where users can share things they like from around the web has enjoyed rapid growth since its launch in 2010. Right now it is growing faster than Facebook and twitter were at the same time of their lifespan. The sign up process of any website is crucial to its success or failure and the Pinterest sign up process is super easy, beta invite requirement aside.
Sign up is all about a users motivation to access the service that is behind the form. If you can get your potential users highly motivated to use your service, then the form should become almost irrelevant. However, that doesn’t mean designers of web forms should become lazy just because they have a killer service offering.
I am currently away taking some time out traveling, which has given me some great time to read. A great book, The Myths of Innovation which I read some time ago, is now out in paperback with 4 new chapters – It’s gotten fantastic reviews for being fun, inspiring and a great read. You have to check it out if you work with ideas or hope to someday.
Web forms have come a long way over the last few years, from bland and lifeless labels with input fields barely better than paper forms, to interactive and beautifully designed experiences like huffduffer. New technologies like inline validation have really helped web forms become far more intuitive and easier to use, providing timely and helpful feedback to users as they move through a form.
Inline validation, when used correctly provides immediate feedback next to the input field showing that the field has been filled out correctly or incorrectly, without the need to press submit and waiting for the error message. The example below is from audible, having finished typing in the username field and tabbing to the password field, I was informed that my username had already been taken allowing me to immediately select an alternative. This saves me time and prevents me getting to the end of the form, pressing submit and only then finding out the username was already taken. Read more
The BBC have been gradually upgrading the design and visual interaction of their pages over the last 12 months. The latest upgrade is very subtle but is a great improvement to the design and usability of the pages.
Within a deep page of the BBC site if you want to get to the homepage or a high level category, you can access these using the horizontal navigation bar pictured at the top of the page in black below.
When designing a web form or landing page, there are usually different paths a user can take through the form or from the landing page. Usually the typical path a user wants to achieve through a form is completion, so primary actions on these pages are things like “next”, “save” or “continue”. Secondary actions are things like “Back”. From a landing page the user probably wants to “Add to cart” or “Buy Now” as the primary action. Visually distinguishing primary actions to make them obvious should now be common practise thanks to excellent work by Luke Wrobleski in web form design and commonly used design patterns, but why do so many websites continue to get it wrong?
Giving easy and obvious feedback to users to tell them if a task they have been completing on your site has been completed, is extremely easy by following simple design patterns. Yet so many websites continue to fail and keep users asking, “am I done yet?”