Online Forms

Forms must be properly structured and optimised to support the person in completing the form without errors.

Guidelines for the design of forms are as follows:

  • Give the form a clear title. Identify whom the form is for and its purpose at the start.
  • Give instructions in bullet points on the first page.
  • Ensure all terms and conditions are clearly explained in plain English.
  • Divide the form into clear and logical sections with informative headings and clear numbering.
  • Avoid unnecessary or repeated questions.
  • Make it clear which fields are mandatory and must be completed.
  • Make sure people have enough space for providing answers.
  • Where possible use boxes rather than lines for answers.
  • Create a clear path through the form.
    • Avoid multi-column forms unless necessary.
    • Avoid creating a 'jagged' misaligned appearance.
  • Make sure ‘tick boxes’ are clearly linked to the answer.
  • Ensure that ‘tick box’ borders and answer lines are solid and at least one point wide.
  • Many people move between form fields with the tab key. Use the form layout and if necessary use the tab index attribute in HTML to support this.
  • Make the ‘next’ or ‘submit’ button obvious and distinctive. This is particularly important where it is provided near competing buttons such as ‘back’.
  • Use the simplest way of presenting options for ease of use:
    • It is recommended that for less than seven options, ’tick boxes’ should be provided.
    • For more than seven options, a drop down menu is recommended.

Customer Communication Toolkit 2023 - Section 3 Illustration 12

Digital and Web Based Communication Systems and Services

Online Forms Checklist