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I'm looking for some good resources on mobile form design. There seems to be a lot for web forms, and a lot of that translates well. But a lot translates poorly when you have restricted screen real estate.

I've heard that Luke Wroblewski is working on a new book on mobile forms, but I haven't been able to find anything on it.

What have you found useful in designing mobile forms?

Edit: I'm not asking for general form design rules, but more those that are specific to mobile limitations and different from standard web forms.

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2 Answers 2

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we covered this at NNgroup and the recommendations were same as for normal web forms (though luke might have better evidence now). In the meantime you could follow these suggestions:

What makes a good form?

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I've clarified my question. I realise that most recommendations will apply to both, but there are design limitations that a mobile form has which a web for does not. I presume that those limitations change some of the design recommendations. –  JohnGB Oct 10 '11 at 16:09
    
what limitations do you mean? –  colmcq Oct 10 '11 at 17:58
    
Mostly screen size, but also the lack of any hover. –  JohnGB Oct 10 '11 at 18:43
    
then the only limitation I can think of would be label alignment. –  colmcq Oct 11 '11 at 8:25

I'm sure that as for his book on web form design - some of Luke Wroblewski's new book (for release 18 Oct 2011) will comprise what is on his website.

So - for example Better Mobile Form Design making use of Web Form Innovations on Mobile Devices

But you can also look at Mobile Form Design Strategies on UXBooth which can be summarised by quoting from the author of that same article:

  • Label alignment: Avoid using horizontal labels (left- and right- aligned) for mobile forms. Use vertical align labels instead.
  • Remove: Get rid of unnecessary elements and features to help users focusing on their tasks. If possible, omit optional fields or elements which do not have primary uses.
  • Combine: Combine various similar input fields into a single field. Make sure it is clear what users can do and what they could enter in the field.
  • Improvise: Make good use of mobile devices’ built-in features such as location detection via GPS satellites to simplify your mobile form input.
  • Break into small steps: Split a long form into a few smaller steps to make your mobile forms easier to use. Use this approach sparingly. Also, try reducing unnecessary elements on each page to avoid slow page downloads.
  • Use appropriate input elements & menu controls: Replace one type of control with another which could simplify the form and its interaction. Prioritise mandatory content and fields, and avoid over emphasizing optional fields or those which are only useful for a very small group of users.
  • Choose appropriate list selections: There are two main ways to present a list selection: locked drop down (in alphabetical or non alphabetical order) and open predictive search. Both have pros and cons. Choose the appropriate list selection based on your field and selections.
  • Set sensible defaults: Provide some default selections where appropriate based on the context in which your forms are used.
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"Break into small steps: Split a long form into a few smaller steps to make your mobile forms easier to use. Use this approach sparingly. Also, try reducing unnecessary elements on each page to avoid slow page downloads." NNgroup pulled out an example of a company that did this [progressive disclosure] and pretty much slammed the approach –  colmcq Oct 10 '11 at 16:52
    
I'm not saying nngroup are right of course –  colmcq Oct 10 '11 at 18:37

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