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August 30 2012

07:54

Get Your Form On: Modern Web Forms Tutorials


  

This article is designed to show you (through tutorials) how to create and better understand CSS forms. With a proper understanding of each element (radio buttons, checkboxes, textareas ..), CSS know-how, a little patience and some creativity you can create beautiful and appealing forms.

Having a website with beautiful and functional forms is vital for managing a web business. Keeping your visitors and potential customers satisfied and making your website more accessible should be one of the primary focuses to any website owner. As a designer, the contact form is the first step a client takes to communicate with you, but it can also be the final step a user takes on your website. Having a good and functional contact form is vital to convince the client you are the right choice.

Whether you are looking for tips and tricks for creating contact forms, sign-up / sign-in or checkout forms this article will help you find what you are looking for; or at least inspire you.

Below you can find a showcase of beautiful web forms tutorials:

Get Your Form On

Create a simple CSS form

This tutorial explains how to design a good contact form using a clean CSS design with only label and input tags to simulate an HTML table structure.

Create a simple CSS form

Postcard CSS comment form

This tutorial will show you how to create a stunning comment form using an old postcard image.

Postcard-like CSS Contact Form

Stylish Responsive Form With CSS3 And HTML5

This tutorial shows you how to create a stylish contact form in CSS3 and the details of working with gradients, drop shadows and rounded corners.

Stylish Responsive Form With CSS3 And HTML5

Facebook-like Registration Form with jQuery

Probably the most known registration form is the sign up form of Facebook. Learn how to create it.

Facebook-like Registration Form with jQuery

A simple and stylish HTML 5 and CSS 3 contact form

Step by step tutorial on how to create a beautiful contact form using Photoshop, HTML5 and CSS3. The tutorial starts from scratch with the Photoshop mock-up.

A simple and stylish HTML5 and CSS3 contact form

Build a Neat HTML5 Powered Contact Form

This form tutorial is built using HTML5 for the input elements and uses the browser’s built-in form validation. Also for older browsers the tutorial uses jQuery and Modernizr and PHP on the server side to validate the input.

Build a Neat HTML5 Powered Contact Form

Fancy AJAX Contact Form

AJAX contact form that uses PHP, CSS, JQuery, formValidator and JQTransform plugins to style input fields and buttons and make the form functional. In addition it uses the PHPMailer class to send out the contact form emails.

Fancy AJAX Contact Form

Floating Feedback button contact form

This tutorial features the creation of an AJAX contact form. The form is not visible initially and is activated by clicking on a Feedback button floating to the left of the website.

Floating Feedback button contact form

Sign-in dropdown box likes Twitter with jQuery

This tutorial helps you create a JQuery Dropbox sign-in box, just like on Twitter.

Sign-in dropdown box likes Twitter with jQuery

Cross-Browser HTML5 Forms

This tutorial teaches users to create beautiful HTML5 forms for modern browsers and how to use a mix of Webforms2, Modernizr, jQuery UI and assorted jQuery Plugins for compatibility with older browsers.

Cross-Browser HTML5 Forms

JQuery and CSS3 drop-down menu with integrated forms

A jQuery and CSS3 tutorial that creates a drop-down menu where each sub-menu has a different form integrated (login, contact form or sign up).

JQuery and CSS3 drop-down menu with integrated forms

Modern Web Forms with HTML5 and CSS3

A beautiful sign-up form with rounded input boxes and button. Also each textbox includes a small icon relevant to the given field.

Modern Web Forms with HTML5 and CSS3

CSS3 forms with HTML5 validation

This form validates itself in real-time whether the completed data fits the recommended format for name, email or website.

CSS3 forms with HTML5 validation

Simple gradient CSS3 form

A simple CSS3 form tutorial explaining the usage of shadows and gradients in HTML5 contact forms.

 Simple gradient CSS3 form

Conclusion

Contact forms have come a long way in the past years, especially after the release of HTML5 and CSS3. You should always be up-to-date with technology and this is an essential part of your online presence. Hopefully you found these tutorials useful, maybe even convincing enough to change the ones on your own websites. We would love to hear your opinions below.

(rb)

February 06 2012

10:00

Illustrated History of Web Forms

How many forms are filled out each day across the web? Billions of them, for sure. From small household blogs to government portals, it’s hard to imagine a website not having at least one form. And this comes naturally, since forms are the quickest way of having users:

• subscribe for a newsletter
• add comments to an article, pose questions or ask for support
• fill out applications (e.g. job applications)
• answer surveys
• perform purchases
• join clubs and forums

Styling web forms for both usability and aesthetics is a usual practice for any web designer working on a project. However, at the very beginning of the Internet forms were so dreadful that no modern user would have had the slightest desire to fill in one of them – no customized design, no smart capabilities, scarce consideration towards user experience.

Let’s see the evolution web forms over the past 10 years. It’s simply a lot of fun!

1. Pre-web era forms – the prints that we all despise

Yes, yes, these ones do bring bad childhood memories of endless queues at public administration desks. Perhaps this is the reason most of us don’t enjoy filling out any kind of forms. Hopefully, those prints will become out of fashion before we run out of wood.

2. The early days of WWW: 1991 – 1998

The first years of the Internet (1991-1996) remain obscure as far as web forms are concerned. Since we don’t have NeXT software on hand anymore, there’s no possibility of taking screenshots from back then to see how forms looked (if they existed at all).

As we all know, in a short time WWW became a mass medium and electronic forms made their way in. However, they were awfully rudimentary. Customer feedback was processed through executable files running on the hard disk. It was hard to find  anything like an online contact form. For subscribing to a service, you most likely had to download a form, fill in a hard copy and send it to the webmasters via postal services.

The existent web forms at that time mainly performed search and submission tasks. The interface was dead simple and dull, HTML based with no CSS of course.

BACK THEN:

NOW:

3. Form use in online sales: 1994 – present

1994 brought two major enhancements in the web arena: e-banking and online ordering (pizza, as you may guess). Shortly after, Amazon launched its online shopping service in 1995 and eBay the next year. Naturally, all of them were using web forms.

Those days, e-commerce was hindered by the limitations of credit cards that didn’t support online transactions. The issue was solved around 2000, once online payment processors appeared. Web forms could then exhibit products for sale and then direct submitters right to the payment gateway where they could complete the transaction. This was a major leap for the internet making its entrance in the day-to-day life of regular people.

BACK THEN:

NOW:

4. Web forms in the days of social media: 2004 – present

Two major landmarks for social media are 2004 (the launch of Facebook) and 2006 (the birth of Twitter). Facebook had the most interesting evolution in regards to web forms.

From the very beginning Facebook provided its own tools for creating simple polls and for planning events. However, the original Facebook forms were simple ones, they had security issues and as for styling they used to hold the blueish standard skin of FB. Things got better though. In August 2006, Facebook launched the free Developers API, which led to a burst of applications, widgets and tools. Around 2010 came the first form management apps for Facebook. Users could now have their own signup forms for fan pages, reuse personalized forms brought from outside and build specific mailing lists. Since then, Facebook forms and surveys are among the most popular tools for businesses that perform social media marketing.

BACK THEN:

NOW:

5. Web forms and security

SSL protocol for data encryption was released by Netscape in 1994. Anti-spam tools for web forms such as CAPTCHA and password protection have only been available since 2000. In the dark ages before, there were knight battles with hackers and spam.

How could you prevent bots from signing up countless times? Using IP validation methods that aren’t by far infallible. One famous hijack of a web form occurred in November 1999, when slashdot.org had the idea to run an online poll asking what was the top graduate school in computer science. Even if the IPs were stored in order to prevent duplicate entries, the students of Carnegie Mellon managed to create a program that voted thousands of times for their university. The next day, the competitors (students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology) put up their own program and the two rival bots took over the poll, leaving the valid submissions in shadow. Fortunately, security options we have today are by far more efficient.

6. Contemporary profile of web forms

An important improvement came around 2007 when the first WYSIWYG form builders made their way in. Any internet user could then create forms. HTML knowledge is not mandatory anymore, since the remotely hosted form generators provide wizards with intuitive interfaces.

The portrait of a form that stands at the top of the evolution chain includes, by case:

  • slick design, CSS customizable
  • various publishing options: on blogging and social media platforms, on regular websites
  • e-mail submissions received, secure data transfer and storage
  • capacity to draw reports over data
  • payment processing
  • integration with 3rd party apps to extend its functionality.

Today’s websites are bursting with creative web forms. Contact pages aim to be both visually appealing and efficient as lead generation tools. Forms are successful in performing a wide variety of tasks: online ordering, event registration, research across the web, feedback. With CSS and HTML 5 at hand, forms can be successfully styled so that they blend in with the overall look and feel of any website.

Some Creative Contact Forms

Aterlier Detour

Aterlierdetour

Camping ilfrutteto

Camping ilfrutteto

Red Bull Soapbox Racer

Red Bull Soapbox Racer

More amazing contact forms:

40+ Creative Contact Forms That Will Inspire You

91 Trendy Contact And Web Forms For Creative Inspiration

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