As part of a system I'm currently working on users will need to fill out some large (40+ fields) forms, they will not always fill out all fields but are required to fill out a handful of core fields in order to insert the record. The fields, due to being laid out in category groups, are dotted around.
I was considering a traffic light colour based outline system whereby the fields will be outlined in amber if they're required and live validation will convert the outline to green when it's completed as required. I figured red would be no good as red outlines are used when errors are present in the content.
My questions are:
1) Will the amber outline make the users feel the field is "slightly incorrect" like they've made some mistake?
2) Am I making a mistake not using the familiar red asterisk?
3) Live validation will tell the user that the field has been filled and will turn the border green - shall I have content validation here? Or do this at the end with the rest of the form (on submit) - if I validate these fields on the fly is it bad practice to validate the rest of the fields at the end?