Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

by Luke Wroblewski - May 2008 (Rosenfeld Media)

Forms make or break the most crucial online interactions: checkout (commerce), registration (community), data input (participation and sharing), and any task requiring information entry. In Web Form Design, Luke Wroblewski draws on original research, his considerable experience at Yahoo! and eBay, and the perspectives of many of the field's leading designers to show you everything you need to know about designing effective and engaging Web forms.

Web Form Design is the definitive guide for designing one of the most important user interface experiences online filled with design considerations presented in a concise and easily applicable format. This book is a trusted source of data-driven and experience-based recommendations for Web designers, developers, product managers, and more across the World.

As arbitrators of checkout, registration, and data entry, forms are often the linchpins of successful Web applications. Despite the importance of these interactions, the design of the forms that enable them is often poorly thought through. Understanding the considerations and best practices of form design will help anyone make better decisions about the crucial interactions that enable their Web businesses and applications.


"Luke's book is by far the most practical, comprehensive, data-driven guide for solving form design challenges that plague every interface designer. It is an essential reference that will become a must-read for many years." Irene Au Director of User Experience, Google "Luke Wroblewski has done the entire world a great favor by writing this book. Online forms are ubiquitous and ubiquitously annoying but they don't have to be. Wroblewski shows Web designers how to present forms that gather necessary information without unnecessarily badgering and annoying visitors. With deft explanations and clear examples, he presents a clear case for better Web forms and how to achieve them. This book will help you every day." Alan Cooper Chairman, Cooper; author, The Inmates are Running the Asylum "It's about web forms, but, more broadly, it is a lesson in how to think about web design. It should be on every web designer's frequent-reference bookshelf after a cover-to-cover read." Larry Tesler SVP, User Experience & Design, Yahoo! Inc. "If I could only send a copy of Web Form Design Best Practices to the designer of every web form that's frustrated me, I'd go bankrupt from the shipping charges alone. Please. Stop the pain. Read this book now." Eric Meyer author of CSS: The Definitive Guide "Should be required reading for every graphic designer, project manager, interaction designer, or usability researcher who might ever work on a Web form. Web Form Design is that rare book capable of transforming the way an entire field does its business." Communication Arts Design Annual 2008 "What Robert Bringhurst did for the design community with "The Elements of Typographic Style," Luke has done with Web Form Design. He has provided those in the trenches with a definitive book on the topic, and does so with the kind of clarity that allows us to grasp the fundamentals and put into practice principles that become the foundation of great design." Andrei Herasimchuk Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios "Luke has become the foremost expert on form design in the design industry and has now put together all his thoughts in an easy to use book. This is a must read book for anyone making forms online." Preston Smalley Director, Interaction Design, eBay Inc. "I just wanted to say that the book is fantastic! It's very refreshing to see a book with very practical advice for both novice and seasoned designers." Daniela Jorge Director, User Experience at Intuit "Through really clear examples and succinct best practices, Luke brings joy to designing forms. I love this book and will be adding it to my list of "must haves." Bill Scott Director UI Engineering, Netflix "Form design has historically been an afterthought, a partial chapter in past web design primers. Thankfully, we now have Luke's indispensable best practices in print. This book will now sit on my desk whenever I'm designing an application." Dan Cederholm Principal, SimpleBits; author of Bulletproof Web Design "If you judge a book by its immediate applicability, my team used Web Form Design in the first day we owned it, improving an online registration form for a major data warehousing company. Web Form Design sets the standard for design books today - a targeted but comprehensive examination of an issue that is both highly specific yet broad in its application." Dan Brown Principal, EightShapes; author of Communicating Design "If you want to trust my more reflective second judgment, after having read, re-read, and ruminated over the finer points he makes in the book, buy it: you'll be delighted but left wanting more." Will Evans, Reviewed in Boxes & Arrows "Chapter by chapter, the book tackles and solves every question you're likely to encounter while designing, building, and implementing web forms -a masterclass in design theory, and the year's first essential purchase." Matthew Pennell, Reviewed in Digital Web Magazine "An excellent guide for new or de facto designers and a handy reference for veterans. By following his advice, we -and our users -can quickly and competently get through the forms and onto the fun stuff." Phillip Haine, Reviewed in Interactions "Filled with practical advice told in an engaging manner. I can't imagine any serious web interaction designer not having it on her bookshelf. If you are doing anything resembling ecommerce, registrations, and account management online, this book is for you." Dan Saffer Author, Designing for Interaction "Luke's book is a concrete, practical roadmap for making the guts of any web product or service work better. He has made thinking about forms fun -and more important, he has put the user front and center in his approach. This is great stuff!" Michael Dearing Associate Professor, d.school Stanford University "Luke Wroblewski has written one of the best books on user experience and web usability that I have read for some time. It deserves a place on every user experience or web designer's bookshelf." Andy Polaine, The Designer's Review of Books "[Luke's] persuasive mixture of case studies, existing research and newly commissioned usability studies help shed light on the patterns and anti-patterns that determine whether users successfully complete your forms or give up in disgust." Brian Dillard, Agile Ajax "I did not know what to expect, but after reading the book cover to cover I learned it is truly an excellent book, destined to be a classic." Jeremy Schultz, Designorati "Luke's book is a must-read for all of us who design web forms -- it will help you become successful at increasing completion rates and user satisfaction while decreasing completion times and errors." Brandon Bowersox, OJC Technologies "All the online applications (credit card, checking account, etc) I do are all very forms intensive so I'm really happy to have a single book that just talks about forms - what a delight and such a useful reference!" Sacha Pearson Information Architect, Wells Fargo "I highly recommend this book for both new and veteran web designers. Your clients and their customers will benefit from your newfound knowledge and you'll feel like a genius." Mindy Wagner, Viget Labs "There is a rarely a week goes by where I don't stick it under the nose of a developer or marketeer. It's my current weapon of choice." Craig Melbourne, Gooey Lab

Buy the Book

Paperback edition with screen-optimized PDF, ePub, and Mobi versions from Rosenfeld Media.
Paperback edition only from Amazon.

More by Luke Wroblewski

Mobile First
Why Web sites and applications should increasingly be designed for mobile first and how Web design teams can make the transition from designing for desktops/laptops to designing for mobile.

Site Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability
When users interact with your site, they are relying on the visual presentation to tell them what the site has to offer and how they can make use of it.