Recently I've been designing complex multi-page forms for financial institutions and up until now they've been designed with a fixed navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, like so:
The forms are used frequently by users, and require the user to input a lot of information quickly across several screens. As mentioned, the forms calls to action are placed within a navigation bar, which is fixed to the bottom of the page - the form scrolls behind the bar. Mandatory information is surfaced to be higher up the screen and there is lots of help and keyboard shortcuts to aid accessibility and speed of completion.
I've been asked to back up my reasoning for using the fixed button bar and understand any potential issues with this pattern. I have read lots of Luke Wrobelski articles, but not many take into account these complex forms.
My reasoning for fixing the form navigation is as follows:
- calls to action are always in view
- calls to action are consistently placed across screens:
- The primary call to action, such as 'Save' is placed to the right as a button
- Secondary calls to action, such as 'Cancel' are placed to the left as links (tab order puts the primary button before the secondary).
- Keyboard shortcuts allow the user to skip form content to focus directly on the primary call to action.
Question: Is there anything inherently wrong with this approach, that I've not taken into account?
Just for some extra context, we tend to use three column-layouts. I don't particularly want to get in a discussion about the pros and cons over single and multi-column layouts here, but here are some variations on this layout, again with the fixed bottom bar.
Thanks in advance