Design tips for complex forms, Malta 2012

 

A bright eye painted on a yellow background
Colourful decoration on a Maltese fishing boat

Usability in Malta

It was a privilege to be invited to present at Malta’s first usability conference.

On one of the coldest, wettest nights that Malta had ever known, an impressively large number of keen people made their way to the lecture hall generously loaned to us by the University of Malta. (Thanks to Dr. Alexiei Dingli, Department of Intelligent Computing Systems).

Justin Mifsud, Malta’s Usability Geek¬†started the evening with a presentation on ‘Practical Usability Guidelines for Your Website’.

Then I had the chance to talk about one of my favourite topics: complex forms. Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to review, compare and suggest improvements to the online tax return services being offered by both Maltese and UK governments – both of which gave us plenty to discuss, and to learn from.

I’d also like to thank Justin and his colleagues¬†Simon Bonanno (CEO, Holistic IT Group) and Evan Camilleri (CTO, Holistic IT Group) for organising the event, and for their hospitality.

My top tips for complex forms

Form tip 1: Focus on what your users need to do

Form tip 2: Put the first thing first

Form tip 3: Use the same words all the way through

Form tip 4: Put just enough help where the user needs it

Form tip 5: Best place for a button: Aligned with the left-hand end of the text entry boxes