Programming a User-Friendly Form
- Validate the form data before you send to the CGI.
- Validate the form data within the CGI.
- Don't make your readers go back to fix errors.
This is one of the most common usability problems with forms. There are errors and the reader is expected to remember them all and hit the back button and hope that the cache hasn't cleared or she'll have to fill in the form all over again. Take the extra step of rebuilding the form, and you will get more completely filled out forms.
- Show your readers what they submitted.
On many feedback forms, the reader submits her entries and they disappear into a void. She might receive a thank you note, but she has no record of what she sent. A well-crafted form will either send the data that was submitted to the reader or display it on the screen (for printing or saving).
If you follow these hints you will create a form that is easy to read and fill out and your customers will thank you by filling it out, and not just leaving or ignoring it.