I have a need to design complex research data web input form. The specification is such, that I have about 7-10 obligatory fields (inputs, dropdowns, etc), and unspecified optional fields. Let's say that 30-40 is normal. On top of that, I might have several blocks like that on the page. All input is manual.
I am seeking a good guideline how to layout form, how to make it easy to move around it, and how to make it as compact as possible without losing clarity.
I am also looking for descent CSS framework to use that would get me layout out of the box. I use bootstrap for my general page layout, but its native control elements are too large.
This is a research database interface so regular "buisness" approach about 1-coulmn is not relevant, neither suggestion to somehow limit input. Think medical interface.