PHP Web Development Northern Ireland
Vincent Polding :: Specialising in CodeIgniter Frameworks
Phone Belfast: 028 9557 5678

My view of how an extensive online form can be made to be easy and enjoyable to fill in.


I've built many online forms over the years but the most memorable were for a firm of accountants who needed a way to process claimant's information for companies that had been sent into liquidation.

Their forms stretched several pages and collected a lot information about the claimant, including their monetary claims and supporting information.

Whilst this reproduction is for demonstration purposes only, it is a good example of how to build multi-page forms.


There are three key things to remember when designing an online form ...

  1. Consider the people who will be expected to fill it in.
    If you design the form with the user in mind, you can anticipate their needs and cater for their questions and because of that, you will see improved results.
  2. Split the questions into orderly sections.
    It's quite easy really, just group the questions together so that any single page of the online form deals with related information.
  3. Store answers as the user progresses through the form.
    The user should have the option to go back and review previous information and edit it if they want. And then, just before submitting the form, let them view the entire form again.

In today's world of intelligent websites, impatient users and increased competition, I'm surprised at the lack of thought and care that some very large organisations take to cater for their online visitors. Contact forms is just one area that many firms need to improve on.

It's not difficult to build a form that is easy to understand and use. It's not hard to allow the user to review and amend their questions. And it should be compulsory to give the user a copy of the completed form when it's been submitted.

It just needs the developer to take a little extra care and pride in their work to cater for the little things that make a big difference.

Multipage Form - Home Page
Fig 1 - Multipage Forms is a free online tool that demonstrates how to build complex forms.
Multipage Form - Step One
Fig 2 - Use clear wording and a clean layout.
Multipage Form - Countries
Fig 3 - Place commonly used options at the top. When selecting a country, for example, don't force local users to scroll through a long list.
Multipage Form - Instructions
Fig 4 - Inform the user what will happen when they progress. It helps to build trust.
Multipage Form - Guidance
Fig 5 - Confirm when information has been saved and show an alert notice when required.
Multipage Form - Hidden Fields
Fig 6 - Where multiple options are available, giving rise to multiple outcomes, only show the fields relevant to the previous selection.
Multipage Form - Check and Confirm
Fig 7 - Allow the user to view the completed form and then check and amend their answers.
Multipage Form - PDF Download
Fig 8 - When finished, either email the user a copy of the form or allow them to download a PDF copy from the website.

You can visit the live site here ...

The client website is hosted by a third-party company and will open in a new browser window.


Would you like to know more?

If you're looking for an experienced web developer to join your project, or if something on this site has taken your interest, please get in touch. It costs nothing to talk and who knows, it might be the best thing you do today.


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