Luke Wroblewski

Chief Design Architect, Yahoo!

Input: Moving Beyond Web Forms
90 minutes, 41.6mb, recorded 2010-02-17
Luke Wroblewski

Web forms suck, but they can be delightful, if designers will adopt a new mindset and use the latest tools. Luke Wroblewski has studied rich interactions in Javascript to find the best improvements over plain old web forms. He suggests novel ways to use data collected where people already live, in email, IM, and web services, so no forms are needed. And he delights in new kinds of interaction possible on mobile devices, with their sensors, soft keyboards, and advanced displays. Today, web forms can be wonderful.

Luke starts by leading us through the horrible experience of trying to buy more songs for Rock Band on his Xbox, an experience that would be hilarious if it weren't so infuriating. And one we all recognize from our own struggles with web forms.

But Luke quickly switches to an encouraging look at the new interactions that are possible, if only designers will embrace them.

  • Rich interactions to enhance standard forms.
  • Commonly used tools for input, such as email and IM.
  • Web services to bypass registration and give new users a richer initial experience.
  • New capabilities on mobile devices.

Rich interactions include in-line validation, which Luke studied extensively at Yahoo! to learn which approach works best for various kinds of input.  As another example, he cites Yahoo! Answers, which guides users in creating good questions that will elicit useful answers.  He explains the best way to handle entry of formatted data, like dates and phone numbers, and the benefits of HTML5 input types.

Since many web sites must interact with email in any case, for registration and password recovery, why not let people use email as a primary input tool?  After all, everyone is already comfortable with creating content using email.  Luke demonstrates several web sites that use email as a primary input mechanism.  IM is another familiar environment that offers novel interactions.

Increasingly, web sites use Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other services to bypass new user registration and log-in.  Often, networks of friends can be imported directly, giving users a more welcoming initial experience.  All without any web forms.

Finally, Luke describes the profound impact of mobile devices. New forms of input, such as audio, gesture, location, image, and more are creating new opportunities for people to interact with web forms and for designers to eliminate web forms entirely.

Luke Wroblewski is an internationally recognized product-design leader who has designed or contributed to software more than 700 million people use worldwide. Currently chief product officer and a co-founder of Bagcheck Inc., previously he was entrepreneur in residence at Benchmark Capital and chief design architect at Yahoo!.

Luke is the author of two popular web design books, Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks and Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability. He also publishes Functioning Form, a leading on-line publication for interaction designers. Luke is consistently a top-rated speaker at conferences and companies around the world and is a co-founder and former board member of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA).

Previously, Luke was lead user interface designer on the platform team at eBay, where he led the strategic design of new consumer products such as eBay Express and Kijij, as well as internal tools and processes. He is also founder of LukeW Ideation and Design, a product strategy and design consultancy, has taught interface design courses at the University of Illinois, and has worked as a senior interface designer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the birthplace of the first popular graphic web browser, NCSA Mosaic.

Luke has a Master's Degree in Interface Design and Bachelor's Degrees in Art History and Graphic Design from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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