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In my current project I'm working with a lot of large forms. Below is an example of one of them. In trying to keep it clean and make use of the available space the following layout has been suggested.

I'd like to hear your opinion on whether this is a good way for laying out this form or if there are better alternatives.

Mockup

closed as off-topic by Matt Obee, Erics, Charles Wesley, JonW Dec 11 '13 at 17:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about Site Reviews are off-topic because questions here are expected to be relevant for a variety of people in the same situation. Reviewing a site, flow or interface only helps one person at a specific time. Instead try to ask a focused question about a particular aspect of the design that solicits solutions, not opinions." – Matt Obee, Erics, Charles Wesley, JonW
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  • 2
    It sounds like you're asking for a general review of this interface. Could you narrow your question down to a particular aspect of the design? – Matt Obee Dec 11 '13 at 12:59
  • More context on who will be using the form (employees, or customers) and how often they will be used (all day to enter CRM data, or only upon account signup or order of product) would be really useful. – Fractional Dec 11 '13 at 13:54
  • We can't just review your implementation for you - that's not a question with an answer, it's just subjective opinion. However if you can outline a specific element you're having issues with, explain what you've tried and why it isn't working then we can focus on that and help you out. But a general 'please review my layout' question isn't really any help to anyone other than yourself (and as this site is a repository of UX questions and answers that means such questions aren't really a fit for this site). – JonW Dec 11 '13 at 17:31
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Its interesting what you are doing with the form here. I am assuming when a user types some text it hides the mask. So here are some problems i could think with this interface,

1) Breaks convention, generally labels for form fields are placed either on top or the left of the field. By breaking this convention you are doing something the user is not expecting. Is it really worth saving screen real estate breaking the convention.

2) Is it universal, can you apply this format on different types of forms. Maybe here you can identify address field once you enter, but there might be cases where users have to refer to the fields to know what has been entered. This is especially true when you make this a readonly or view only form, what would you do then?

3) Accessibility, for users using different software like jaws, would it be accessible? For older users or users with low vision would the small text be readable?

4) Technology, What happens when the design breaks due to an old browser, would this degrade gracefully?

Its a long form don't take my word for it, test it with few users see if it has real value compared to going the traditional way. I would advise to do the normal left placement of labels.

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I know that your project potentially might not involve a web form, but I think that some of the basic web form design principles still apply:

The main issue that I see with this interface in regard to usability is the multiple column alignment of the fields. This could potentially lead to confusion of users and/or slower input speed (again without knowing exactly what the project is, I can't be sure if these matter to you)

Users tend to find multiple column forms slightly confusing according to this article:(http://baymard.com/blog/avoid-multi-column-forms)

There was an eyetracking study completed by cxpartners into some different web form designs from a couple of websites. http://www.cxpartners.co.uk/cxblog/web_forms_design_guidelines_an_eyetracking_study/

From the above study, a couple of 'rules' into basic form design were put forward including:

1) Vertical not Horizontal - users complete web forms top to bottom, not left to right 2) Left aligned labels are clearer

Numerous other 'rules' can be seen in the above article.

Overall though, i think that if you sit down with the people who will be using the system and or some other test cases and run through a couple of prototypes, you will quickly find which form layout best suits the needs of your end user.

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