>Universal enterprise UX – Part 6 (Form Development)

>Form development is the bulk of programming activity using our model. The Type/Filter and Browse/Next web-parts should (in theory) be able to be configured (XML/web-part properties) rather than developed. Forms can be developed using whatever technology the organisation are familiar with e.g. Web/InfoPath/X.

The Browse/Next web-part is the wrapper that all forms reside within (when they are on screen). Many forms will be able to be rendered within it in their entirety. Some forms will require contextual information to be retained in the form for reference, while the user is engaged in an “offshoot” task; for example a form focused upon generating a new user might want to retain the core user details e.g. Name, ID on the Browse/Next, while also taking the user through a process to add that user to selected user groups. This sort of behaviour should make use of the Wizard Pane concept. This supplementary web-part permanently exists on the screen wherever a Display/Update web-part is placed and (like personalisation behaviour) expands whenever required.

Its use is not limited to wizard-like behaviour and it may be used to render discrete pieces of information, tables or other complex controls that require the original context (in the Browse/Next web-part) to be displayed at the same time that the user is interacting with the new process. Another example of use of the Wizard Pane would be to show details of Notes, where upon selecting the note in the list box (perhaps attached to an Order); the details of that note e.g. Name and Description, Raise Date, Raiser and Type are detailed in the Wizard Pane.

Form developers should be fully aware of the Wizard Pane and make appropriate use of it where necessary. Judicious use of the Wizard Pane could dramatically improve the UX. A good form developer will make appropriate use of it wherever possible.

When the Wizard Pane is expanded on a page, it will “compete” for space in the same way as for the other web-parts. Within a form, collapsible sections should be used wherever a logical grouping of form details exists, for example; “Personal details”. This allows the user to personalize the form experience by collapsing sections he is not interested in at a particular time. The combination of both the Wizard pane and collapsible sections should mean that use of tabbed dialogues and in particular pop-up dialogues should not be necessary within any application built using this UX model.

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