Mobile forms are a bit complicated prospect faced by developers while designing apps/sites for mobile devices. The subject is more constraint on mobile devices than on desktops, as the screen sizes are smaller, connections are slower and text entry is trickier. However, the difficulty cannot be left as it is, with no forms on your websites and apps. But, limiting the number of forms in your mobile applications can be wiser idea. Scheming radio buttons, checkboxes, select menus and lists on mobile forms work much better than open text fields. Though there are more limitations with mobile-website usage, the rising mobile usage has forced developers and designers to enrich several modern solutions and find advanced ways to let users to input data faster and more easily. In this post, we’ll be discussing some of the top notch modern solutions that encourage forms on mobile eCommerce websites and apps.
Most of the mobile web browsers come with this field zoom feature. When a user selects a form’s input field, the ‘field zoom’ feature expands it to fill the screen’s viewable area. This could help people to view the larger screen area of what they are typing in the field. It has been reported that most people who commit errors in form filling just because of the smaller input field area they see on their mobile screen, which eventually leads them to misspellings. Safari browser on Apple’s iPhone incorporates the ‘field zoom’ methodology, along with a ‘form assistant’ display. This form assistant module displays ‘previous’, ‘next’, ‘autofill’ and ‘done’ buttons below the magnified input field, thereby offering people the option to move through and complete filling a form. As every user is not familiar with the form assistant feature, make sure that controls on the web page allow them to complete the form clearly. Field zoom feature can be one major reason to top align input field labels in forms.
Input types or input formats are also a significant factor to check out with while designing apps or sites for mobile devices. Thanks to certain modern techniques, the way you input data on mobile apps has become quite easier. Some mobile web browsers recognize only specific input types, which is a part of developing HTML5 standard and adjust their input types accordingly. Say for example, specifying an input of the type URL virtually brings the alpha numeric characters like ‘.’, ‘.com’ and ‘/’ which are common to any url. With these kind of readily available input oriented keyboards, it is easy to enter the particular type of data required in each input field. Even browsers which do not have virtual keyboards can benefit with numbers as users need not have to switch separately to the number mode to enter particular numeric data.
Password input fields are widely mattered with any website or app, particularly if on mobiles. Most of the password input fields in forms is difficult to understand for a user. One advanced solution to this is, the automatic masking of passwords. As a user enters his password, the information is hidden from prying eyes (even to his own eyes). This might provide the appearance of security, while on the other end, this also leads to usability issues when people get confused whether they have entered the correct password (as they are left with a set of bullets sequenced in order, which they guess to be their password). However, besides that the methodology is purely secure.
Pop-Up Menu Controls
Things have turned from drop down select menus to pop-up menu controls. Drop down centered menus have become the hardest input types to use with. With them, fisrt you got to click on a menu, which then displays a list of long targets. Once you find the option you want, you need to position your cursor on the right target and select it. To overcome this, there are many implementations handled over mobile web form design and one finest method is implementing pop-up menu controls. A larger touch target for select menu options are displayed in a dialog window over the web page, so that any mobile user can select the right value once found out. Android devices are more into providing this pop menu control options when compared to other smartphone brands.
Compound Menu Controls
This kinda approach can be applied when the user wants to enter/select the compound inputs like height in terms of feet and inches. Compound menu controls are something that minimizes. For example, instead of showing up separate input fields for month, day and year for a date, a one-date field with drop down options to go through the three lists can be quite easier.
Native Input Controls
Most of the mobile operating systems are open to several custom input controls in addition to the compound menu controls. Rating widgets, sliders, split buttons and scrubbers are some of the native input components, which are worth considering in place of standard form controls to make inputting easier for users.
The way people like to hold their mobile devices differ and henceforth mobile forms should also be adjusted accordingly. Mobile devices can either be used horizontally or vertically. If it’s held vertically, the screen shows three input fields with several action buttons. With horizontal hand held position, the email body input takes over the screen and only one action button is shown on the right.
Voice input is what most of the future mobile devices will be coming up with and of course most are still. This allows people to use voice input for any text field in an application. Individuals can swipe the virtual keyboard to switch the phone to audio input mode; else the microphone button can be used.
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