HTML Forms are an essential part of most of the websites. It is used to accept user inputs. Registration, login, search are the usually seen applications of forms. Users in general do not like to fill forms, especially long forms. So it is a big headache for web developers to put things carefully and boosts user experience.
A well designed form should follow these guidelines.
- Layout should be properly rendered in all devices including desktops, mobiles and tablets.
- Avoid unnecessary fields. Example, if there is an input field which accepts date of birth, then do not ask the user to enter his age in next textbox. Age can be easily calculated from date of birth.
- Implement proper client side validation. Do not make users to enter the form again from scratch.
- Show where and what is the error appropriately.
It is advised to use popular plugins for form management. This helps you to create a stable and responsive html forms. Here is a list of 15 jQuery plugins which help you to manage your forms.
Sometimes HTML textarea input field needs maximum character limit. You can see an example when typing a status in Twitter. jQuery NobleCount plugin helps you to show remaining character count next to textarea. One can then change the style of character count so that it can help users to brief their matter.
jQuery Highlight plugin highlight currently active row in a form. This makes it more user friendly especially in larger screens and smaller screens. The highlighting can be toggled on click.
Password strength can be shown along with password field. It motivates the user to give a stronger password. Normally users give easy and repeating passwords which are very easy to hack.
4. Masked Input
Some input fields require strict data format. An age field should not contain alphabets. It can only contain numbers. And some date input can only have dates in certain format. The format can be like MM-DD-YYYY. If any other format is given, it may break the database insert query. In these cases, it is advisable to use masked input plugin to stick to the format. Some example fields where you can use masked input are credit cards, zip codes, telephone numbers and country code
An important part of forms is file uploading. With the advanced HTML5 File API and other browser technologies, file uploading is very responsive now. We can drag and drop files from harddisk. Progress of file uploading can also be viewed. Uploadify is a stable library to upload files from HTML form
Niceforms helps in easy customization of web forms. It mainly concentrates on the style of a web form. There is a limit for CSS to style a web form. Niceforms cross that limit by converting the form elements to some cool controls.
This plugin converts checkboxes to cool sliding controls. It is comfortable mainly for touch devices. It works on all major browsers. You can also use new checkbox events through this plugin. The style of control can be changed dynamically.
Validation is an important step in form submission. Client side validation ensures fast validation. It also reduces number of client server requests. The plugin displays validation errors in a beautiful tooltip just above the input field. This helps users to know quickly about the error and where is it located.
It is always suggested to use a datepicker for the user to enter a date input. This reduces the format error of dates. Also we can restrict the user from selecting a past date if needed. The date picker is responsive. So it works smoothly in mobiles, tablets and desktops.
The file size of the plugin is less than 10kb. So it is lightweight and loads very fast. It uses LESS based stylesheets for better responsiveness.
10. Switch Button
Switchbutton gives you an advanced checkbox with on and off state. It has a beautiful sliding on and off transition. The design of switchbutton is inspired by iphone styles. It requires jQuery 1.6+ for working.
Different browsers render form input elements differently. To obtain a cross browser uniform styling use uniform.js. It styles most of the input elements like buttons, select, checkbox, radio etc. It requires jQuery 1.6+ for working.
jQTransform is a form styling plugin. It is licensed under GPL License. The form styling can be further customized by editing the associated css file. The plugin works in almost all browsers even in IE6.
You might have seen multiple select as shown above in facebook. It allows users to select options using an autocomplete form. Once the user selects a value it is added to the list. The items added can also be deleted by clicking the x button. The plugin is really flexible. You can right align the added items. There is an option to show custom text if the item searched in autocomplete is not available.
14. Ideal Forms
Ideal forms is a smaller, faster and extensible jQuery form plugin. It works in IE9+ and in all modern browsers. It is licensed under GPL or MIT License. The plugin has in inbuilt validation. It is responsive and works in all screens.
Last but not least, another application of forms is in high secure payment transactions. Validation of a payment form is always required. Otherwise it affects customers' confidence and is more prone to hacking. Credit Card Validation provides needed validations for Credit Card transactions.
There are hundreds of jQuery form plugins available in web. But nothing is 100% complete. It is your choice to select which one best suites you. If you are a freelance web developer who works on various forms in a frequent basis, try to develop your own customized version satisfying most of your needs. This allows faster customization when you start a client project.
Please share your feedback through comments section. Also if you know any useful jQuery form plugins, please share it so that others can save a lot of time.