Inline Validation in Web Forms

USABILITY:
See your site or web application thru your user’s eyes
Increase your sales in a 100%
Reduce your cost in a 90%
Reduce time in a 50%
50% of your users can not find what they are looking for
Structure your site of lose 83% of your users

by LUKE WROBLEWSKI – SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
(This article was published in http://www.alistapart.com/articles/inline-validation-in-web-forms/ )

Web forms aren’t great conversationalists. They ask a bunch of questions, then wait until you answer them all before they respond. So when you register for that cool social network or use an e-commerce site, it’s pretty much a monologue.

You can blame most forms’ poor etiquette on the way they’re built. Web forms that use a basic submit-and-refresh model of interactivity don’t respond until you hit the “submit” button—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Real-time inline validation can help people complete web forms more quickly and with less effort, fewer errors, and (surprise!) more satisfaction.

Inline validation gives people several types of real-time feedback: It can confirm an appropriate answer, suggest valid answers, and provide regular updates to help people stay within necessary limits. These bits of feedback can be presented before, during and / or after users provide answers.

Putting inline validation to the test
To better understand the design considerations behind inline validation, I worked with Etre, a London-based usability firm, to test 22 average users on six variations of a typical web registration form. Aramys Miranda developed the form we used with our users, who ranged in age from 21 to 49.
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One thought on “Inline Validation in Web Forms

  1. You might want to add an example of inline validation, I have been programming for 12 years now, so I get the concept.A person new to programing might be a little confused, as they seem to have a hard time understanding, client side vs server side. Which type of validation do you prefer? Ajax? plain old java script?

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