Creating better forms faster: New tools for Experience Manager Forms align with U.S. Government Web Design Standards

by Lisa Lindgren

posted on 08-29-2016

In a perfect world, online government services are simple and easy for citizens to access and apply for from their smartphones and laptops. Yet getting enrollment forms to market quickly while ensuring they are clear and consistent across multiple channels seem like conflicting goals. For example, forms usually need to follow style guidelines or match existing web and mobile sites, which normally requires the skills of a CSS developer. And many government forms contain many fields and instructions, which take a long time to author.

Adobe Experience Manager Forms includes new tools that help you get forms in front of users of government services faster, with the consistent look and elements you need. Experience Manager Forms now ships with reference themes, complete groups of styling elements that define how forms look. You can use these reference themes out-of-the-box, or as a baseline to create your own form styles. Using the theme editor introduced in release 6.2, you can change fonts, background colors, banners, button styles and more with the click of a mouse—no CSS development required. Since the reference themes define styles for mobile and desktop displays, forms built using these themes will render appropriately on modern browsers and mobile devices.

Here is an example of a theme that aligns with the 18F Draft U.S. Web Design Standards. Using this theme, federal agencies can quickly create attractive and clear forms that serve both web and mobile users, while achieving consistency with other federal sites. More themes are available in the Experience Manager Forms 6.2 Reference Themes package.

Experience Manager Forms also now ships with tools that make creating long forms a breeze. Reference fragments are groups of fields commonly used in forms, such as contact information, employment history, or credit card information. You can simply drag and drop these fragments into a new form, dramatically speeding the authoring process while ensuring all forms use the same text, sequence, and layout for the same information. As with reference themes, changing the fragments is simple—simply click on the fields you wish to change, and change their names, the help text associated with them, or whether the field is mandatory, for example. Once you change a fragment, Experience Manager Forms automatically updates all the forms using that fragment, ensuring every form is consistent and up-to-date.

Here is an address block fragment. Simply drag and drop this fragment from the assets browser into the form. The fragment look and feel will conform to the theme you have applied. More reference fragments are included in the AEM Forms 6.2 Reference Fragments package.

Reference themes and fragments are just a few of the many ways Experience Manager Forms makes it quick and easy to create and publish consistent, engaging forms that are connected to other multichannel experiences. For more information, check out what’s new in Experience Manager Forms 6.2.

Topics: Government