What do we reckon about the use of sliders or slide bars on online application forms ?
Personally, I’m not completely convinced. What does everyone else think ? Confused.com’s (see above) slider has been around for some time now and is actually ok (ie it looks like a slider and actually works quite well with a mouse when you interact with it.) It goes up in sensible increments which are helpful and breaks up the monotomy of the form. Wonga.com also use sliders and they are actually quite good fun to play with and work well with their whole marketing campaign…
And I get the thinking behind sliders, make it FUN for the customer or prospective customer. It’s all part of the seductive design process, if you have a fun experience then you’re more likely to be engaged, seduced, sucked in and even talk about the website or app. I think it also depends on where it’s used, maybe if it’s an activity where the user is prepared to devote some time and actually is prepared to have fun then it could be a good thing.
I think some tasks, such as Car Insurance are tasks where you want to get it over with as quickly as possible and maybe fun doesn’t feature highly. But then again, I may be wrong – if it can be just as quick and fun – then why not ? I guess the thing is (as with all great UX) is to get testing on real people as early as possible. It’s easy for business owners and stakeholders to get carried away with a ‘ swishy slider’. I’ve even heard people talking about adding ‘ sound effects’ and they weren’t joking! But you can’t beat testing on the actual people who are going to use your product or service.
I notice however that Confused don’t use sliders on iPad or iPhone. Instead switching to the more traditional dropdowns with increments. So sliders may not research well on touch screen devices. In fact, in my view I bet they are sometimes damn irritating !
If companies are to implement sliders, my advice is to consider a similar approach to Confused where they can identify mobile and touch screen devices early and not serve a slider.
Also I think an overwrite facility where the customer can use a plus or minus button and also be able to over type into the slider field is a good fall back. Having said all that, if you have to have a fall back, then why do it…it’s almost like admitting the thing doesn’t work
Anyway, I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts and examples, good and bad of sliders in the digital world.