I'm working on the layout for a search form that has approximately 8-10 fields. At this point, the search form fills nearly the entire viewport. My research has turned up general strategies for large mobile forms, but these seem to be geared toward various sign up forms, contact forms, etc.
The problem is that the form's function as a search tool requires that the returned results must include all of the original input fields. As a result, the first returned match would likely not appear until the user scrolls down. This seems to be far from an optimal experience.
Assuming that no more fields can be removed from the form, whats the best strategy for users to navigate search results while maintaining the ability to review their search terms, as well as perform a new search without navigating away?
Here is a screen shot of a form that would pretty closely resemble the type of form I'm talking about:
In re: http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/mobile-form-design-strategies/, I am sure that the right-aligned labels suggested that I had not considered that article. The decision to deviate from vertical-aligned labels was made in the interest of remedying the original problem -- reducing the vertical size of the form.
Because all of the labels are relatively short, the risk of one being cut off is reduced. Also, the font sizes, container grids, and field sizes were all modified to reduce risk of improper formatting on smaller screens. The issue of losing view of the label on focus has also been remedied by preventing automatic zooming.
I don't think combining location fields will work as well in this context. In contrast to the example from the article, the location fields aren't merely alternate paths to the same result set. Ex: if Store A is in District 1, a search for only Store A yields only results for that store, but a search for District 1 includes Store A and all others in the same district.
It is possible to update the server side handling to parse only one field and interpret whether the user typed "District X" or "Store X", etc. On balance, however, requiring the user to type in a much longer text string seems to be a less optimal experience than having multiple fields. Moreover, the unintuitive nature of one field for 4 options would require some extra instruction, thus negating some of the saved real estate. Finally, mistyped words, and thus wrong results, seem to be a very likely source of user frustration.
As far as removing location fields and relying on GPS, this approach simply won't work because users may be hundreds of miles from the locations that they're searching for.
With respect to removing unnecessary fields, you'll have to take me at my word that all of the non-required elements have been removed.