Tamara Olson Designs

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effective form layouts

call me a dork, but i can actually recall wondering on more than one occasion if there’d been any research done about most effective form layouts (when i’m not wondering why my layout looks slightly off in ie6, that is). surprisingly … there has been.

czech it out.

the findings?

  • vertical forms are better
  • left-aligned labels are clearer
  • avoid bold labels
  • color or share grouping labels only if important
  • don’t use asterisks; make optional fields clearer (make value of input “Optional” until user replaces it)
  • important messages need to be SUPER bold or people will go RIGHT to the form
  • real-time tips should be at end
  • justify length of inputs (helps see alert messages)
  • users like progress indicators / knowing how much is left for em to complete


in an effort to be more productive with my time, i successfully wasted a good two hours this evening researching and sampling time management and budgeting tools. my golden find of the evening? mint. it allows you to manage ALL your finances, and like a good pesky, motherly accountant, scolds you when you’ve gone over-budget. aside from the slightly creepy feelings it evokes when i think about an external site having all my financial account user IDs and passwords …. mint is great!

graphics and textures and fonts, oh my!!!

this blog post is to serve as a resource for me. and for you. i’m keeping a list of links to all my favorite geeky designer resources. have at it!




(individual fonts)

after much deliberation …

after several agonizing hours jumping between firefox tabs from pcmag to cnet to bestbuy to amazon and back again, and making declarative statements like, “i’ve decided on a d-slr!” and then revoking them five minutes later, i finally made a decision on my camera purchase [that i can’t wait to write off as a business expense]. meet my new baby: the canon s90, the camera with picture quality that rivals the d-slr but qualifies as a “compact.” in an effort to become a quasi-photographer, i’ll be updating my flickr albums over the next few months to show off my new baby’s skillz. stay tuned.