Making a Form Look Easy
The visual appearance of is important inasmuch as the user will do an at-a-glace assessment to determine whether they trust it (feel that it is legitimate) and that they feel that the task will be simple or difficult.
Aside of the advice already given, the author has a handful of tips:
- Use logos and branding elements in the form - too little branding undermines confidence (though too much becomes visual clutter that gets in the way)
- Use "standard" form input elements that the user recognizes - do not invent a new way to provide input (without a compelling functional reason to do so), and do not apply "style" to input fields.
- When setting field lengths, stick to a few choices. It may be necessary to make certain fields a fixed width (a long "zip code" box looks weird), but otherwise, having text fields of the same width provides a cleaner appearance.
- Turn off the automatic table border - the lines between table cells are distracting and unnecessary. Meanwhile, use borders around "sections" of a form to create division between them.
- When it's necessary to ask for similar data (billing address versus shipping address), create a strong and obvious separation.
- Avoid using columns in forms - It is confusing, and users often neglect the second column.