You should use wizard-style forms whenever possible. Wizard-style forms are very simple and easy to use. Unlike forms based on traditional paper forms, which typically feature pages covered with densely packed labels and fields, wizard-style forms feature only one or two related questions per page.
Forms with complex page content can be very difficult for users with visual disabilities to navigate and complete. While using descriptive acclabels helps to mitigate these issues, items in complex forms may require longer explanations. Providing complete explanations within the 256 character limit that the screen readers impose on accessibility messages can be challenging. Moving from a traditional form layout to a wizard-style layout minimizes these complexities and helps to reduce the amount of required accessibility messaging.
Furthermore, dynamically manipulating a traditional-style form's presentation can be very confusing for someone who cannot see the changes to a form. For example, visually impaired users may not notice that mandatory rows have been added to a table, but they would not be permitted to sign the form until the new row has been completed. In a wizard-style form, the information required by that unexpected table row could simply be presented as a new form page in a series of form pages.
Users navigate sequentially through wizard-style forms using "Next Page" buttons. You can use these page flips to dynamically update the form behind the scenes by using user information to determine what pages should be shown next, or to pre-populate other areas of the form with user data. For example, you might design a form in which one section changes completely depending on whether the user is single or married. On the first page of the form the user might indicate whether they are married or single. Then the user clicks a button to flip to the next page. The content of the next page is based purely on the user's marital status. Married users see page two, in which they must provide some information about their spouse and dependents, while single users skip page two entirely and are shown page three.
The following pictures illustrate a page in which the spousal information dynamically alters when the user selects the appropriate check box:
In a more complex form, these new fields could easily be missed by users with visual disabilities. However, in a wizard-style form, you can add a page flip to the first page, as shown:
In this case, the user clicks the Next
button to move to the next page. This brings up the special "Spousal Information" page because the user selected Yes
in the previous page. This makes the dynamically added fields part of the normal flow of completing the form and provides the user with a more intuitive experience.
Exceptions to this practice
There are no exceptions to this practice.
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