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”:www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000107.php.
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”:www.smileycat.com/miaow/archives/000218.php
* “Web Application Form Design”:www.lukew.com/resources/articles/web_forms.html
* “How to Show Whether Form Fields are Required”:www.smileycat.com/miaow/archives/000237.php
* “Web Application Form Design Expanded”:www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?155