Using Eye Tracking to Optimize Label Placement in Forms

UXMatters has another must-read article in their series on eye tracking and form usability, this time on the effect of “label placement on form usability”

h2. Conclusions at-a-glance
Their conclusions were both expected and unexpected:
# Labels above input fields is best, but if you can’t do that, right-aligning labels is better than left-aligning them.
# Bold labels are harder to read.
# Drop-down list boxes are very distracting and so should be used sparingly. Make the first (i.e. the visible) option a direction such as “Please choose…” rather than an actual choice.
I’ve always believed that right-aligned labels looked and worked better – it’s good to have some formal validation of that belief.
h2. Further Reading on Usability and Forms
* “Using Eye Tracking to Evaluate the Usability of Search Forms”
* “Web Application Form Design”
* “How to Show Whether Form Fields are Required”
* “Web Application Form Design Expanded”