Form design mastery 6 week challenge — with Adam Silver

Learn to design forms that users glide through without doing years of research

“Everything Adam teaches is backed by research and solid rationale. Since taking his course, we’ve overhauled our forms and significantly increased completion rate.”
Esben Lorenzen Design Lead at Pento

Nobody likes using forms

In case you didn’t know, people hate filling out forms.

They only use them to achieve a desired outcome: their holiday is booked, their pizza arrives, their message is sent.

So it’s our job to do everything we can to get them out of the way as quickly as possible. And while there are a lot of details that go into that, most of them are not to do with how the form looks.

And yet, an inordinate amount of time is spent focusing on just that.

All the popular articles that end up in our feeds miss the mark. At best they lack research or critical analysis - at worst, they focus on inaccessible patterns that flatter to deceive. These articles swap out substance for words like ‘modern’ and ‘cutting edge’ to draw you in.

And they work too. Badly designed patterns especially in forms proliferate around the web.

Take a text input. It consists of a box to type into and a label to describe what goes inside it.

I mean you’re going to have to stare very hard at it to come to the conclusion that it needs innovation. But look at Material Design. Amongst many other dubious decisions, they replaced the input’s border with an underline.

God knows why they did this because it wasn’t due to their users struggling to type into a standard conventional text box.

And years later, Google tested their special underlined inputs with 600 participants and found that standard bordered inputs performed better.

Who knew?

I suppose that’s okay if you’re Google and have endless money to waste on researching dubious design decisions years after imposing them on users. But my guess is that you don’t have the time, money or inclination to waste like that. And let’s be honest, users don’t care how fancy or unique your UI is unless it stops them from booking that flight, ordering that pizza or sending that email.

Then they care a lot.

The truth is that so many things we need to know in order to design forms that users glide through have been solved for ages.

But understanding the rationale is crucial. Without it, it’s hard to convince stakeholders and teammates to practice user-centered design because they often have their heart set on such dubious patterns (partly because they’re so prevalent).

Now you might be thinking about how research fits into all this.

And yes, user research is critical.

But the idea that every single design decision needs to be tested with thousands of people is just not true. I mean sure, anything based on a whim definitely needs to be tested (like underlined inputs). But we don’t need to test that buttons with large tap targets are easier to use than tiny ones.

Fundamentally, once you start following the principles of good design, you start to get a knack for these things – leaving research to catch the rest.

That said, designing forms that actually work is hard. But that’s why you’re here.

Let me introduce myself

Headshot of Adam Silver

I’m Adam, a designer based in London, UK.

My mission is to create truly simple products that nail the basics, avoid unnecessary complexity and work for everyone.

I’ve been doing just that for 20 years for the likes of Tesco, BBC, Just Eat, and more recently GOV.UK.

I became so obsessed with form design that I wrote a book called Form Design Patterns (published by Smashing Magazine in 2018).

And while I don’t claim to know it all, I have helped 100s of UXers, UI designers, content designers, developers, teams and organisations transform the way they design forms (and the surrounding product).

I redesigned a checkout flow and increased orders by 2 million a year (that’s orders not revenue).

And I redesigned an appointment booking flow and reduced completion time from 6 minutes to 1 minute.

I’ve watched 100s of people fill out forms. I know where they struggle. And I can tell you the same design mistakes happen again and again.

But it’s taken lot of effort to get to this point:

  • I’ve spent a crazy amount of time coding, designing, prototyping, researching and learning what works and what doesn’t

  • I’ve spent loads of time trying (and failing) to convince my colleagues to do good design, not just make things look pretty

  • I’ve read many articles and books on form design but all too often the practical advice is missing and sometimes it’s wrong or misleading

If any of this sounds familiar to you…

Let me take you from zero to hero in just 6 weeks

The challenge follows my Form Design Mastery blueprint.

It’s a unique and practical system that allows you to design forms that users glide through; how to do it efficiently and how to bring your teammates and stakeholders along for the ride.

No fluff, just a simple process where you’ll learn how to:

  • justify every field in your form in order to keep your form as concise as possible
  • prototype forms quickly and collaboratively with tools that non-techies can use
  • design simple, accessible interactions that work on mobile and desktop
  • analyse complex, real world form flows and fix the issues you find
  • write clear, concise content for labels, hints and error messages
  • help users recover from errors using robust validation patterns
  • influence your teammates to carry out good design
“Before taking the challenge I struggled to arrive at clear ideas on how best to design forms in varying situations, so I lacked confidence when presenting my ideas with stakeholders. Since taking the challenge I feel confident I’m making the right decisions. As well as that I feel I have access to a friendly community with experience in different types of form challenges that I can ask for help when faced with a challenge myself.”
Simon Young Senior UX Engineer at Claromentis
“All of us have been on websites and had the unpleasant experience of filling out poorly designed forms. But what makes a good form? Is it layout? Is it typography? Is it text? Is it any of these or all of these? Attending Adam Silver’s Masterclass on Form Design opened my eyes to the myriad factors involved in good form design. The best thing about the course is that Adam is able to back up all of his form rules with real life data. Good form design moves from the realm of art to science. You will not look at forms the same after Adam’s course.”
Les Ansley CEO at Ibhu

What’s included

  • 20 video lessons to watch in your own time
  • 3 live Q&A calls to ask questions and get design feedback
  • Q&A calls from previous cohorts to level up quickly
  • Form Design Mastery Community to share problems and discuss solutions
  • Form Design Mastery Cheat Sheet containing 48 rules to reference quickly
  • Form Design Mastery Question Protocol template to justify every question you ask and collaborate with stakeholders
  • Form Design Mastery Shorthand Syntax template to prototype quickly and collaboratively
  • Form Design Patterns e-book published by Smashing Magazine to dive deeper into micro-interactions
“Being able to join Adam’s course was a bucket list moment for me as a designer. Following his advice, we’ve seen abandon rate and exit rate decrease decreasing, whilst conversion rate has increased. I’m in awe of Adam’s knowledge and expertise when it comes to form design. The data and insight we’ve captured through this whole process, from attending Adam’s course to embedding it into our ways of working has helped us shape and develop our forms.”
Paul Braddock Lead Designer at Co-op Group
“I highly recommend this course. Adam’s knowledge of form design is insane, and he imparts this knowledge in well-thought-out lessons. The weekly Q and A calls offer a space to share real-world challenges, and Adam collaborates with the group to provide insights and explore solutions.”
Stacy Hyun Art Director

Take a look inside

Let me show you around the course platform.

“Adam’s course is full of real world practical takeaways that I used to improve multiple journeys. Adam’s lessons are useful, interactive and engaging. Highly recommended.”
Chi Wai Li Senior Product Designer at
“Adam’s Form Design Mastery course provides clear guidelines and rules to reduce complexity, promote clarity and make things straightforward for users. The tools and techniques he teaches help ensure the right questions are asked, at the right time, in the right way. I also found the community to be welcoming, engaging, supportive and full of talented folk. Adam gave expert advice and focused coaching throughout. The course has helped me identify many improvements to our products. I’m confident that this will enable us to give users a more consistent, usable and accessible form experience.”
Jonathan Mitchell UX Designer at University of Cambridge


Week 1

Nail the basics

Unlearn so-called “best practice” and nail the basics. We’ll look at labels, hint text, placeholders, float labels, tooltips, multi-input fields and so much more.

Week 2

Question protocol

Justify every question in your form to drastically reduce the size of your form without resorting to artificial show-y hide-y interactions. And to convince your colleagues to listen.

Week 3


Help users avoid errors and fix them easily if one appears. We’ll look at the best time to validate, how to present errors, how to write clear error messages and more.

Week 4

Multi-step forms

Handle longer, more complex multi-step form flows. We’ll redesign a real-life checkout flow from start to finish. This includes the first time user experience as well as the repeat user experience.

Week 5

Shorthand syntax

Speed up your design process by designing forms using tools that anyone can use. This way you can collaborate on the most aspects of your form from the start.

Week 6

Supersized forms

Deal with forms that take hours, days or even weeks to complete using patterns that consider the big and small details that guide users to completion.

“Adam’s Form Design Masterclass was great. I’d highly recommend it to frontend developers and interaction designers who are serious about making stuff that works properly for everyone.”
Adrienne Lai UX Lead at Exchange Lab
“Before taking the challenge, I felt like I couldn’t confidently explain my design decisions. Now when someone questions my design, I’m able to confidently communicate every aspect of the approach in a simple way. The challenge has made my life so much easier and I’m really looking forward to seeing this community grow.”
Joe Horton Interaction Designer at UK Government

Frequently asked questions

Who’s it for?

The challenge is designed to put an end to poor and confusing advice about form design. It’s for UXers, UI designers, content designers and developers who’ve tried blogs and books and still haven’t been able to get clarity on what good form design looks like. Or for people who know a fair amount but want to hone their skills and work more efficiently.

What equipment do I need?

  • Google Docs (or similar)
  • Google Sheets (or similar)
  • Google Chrome (sub for another browser with devtools)

How much time do I need?

I would allow for somewhere between 45 to 90 mins a week. Each week varies in length but this should be enough to watch the videos, do the missions and attend the Q&A calls.

Will this only cover the basics?

I’m sure you know a lot about forms. But we’ll start with nailing the basics as a way to set the tone for everything else in the challenge. The basics act as guide rails and constraints for all of the more advanced topics, problems and patterns that we’ll be going through during the challenge. But there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. I won’t let you down.

What if you don’t cover solutions to my particular problem?

Great, I want to know what you want covered and I’ll do my best to incorporate it or address it in one of the Q&A calls. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll tell you - let me know before you sign up if you want to be sure.

Is the material only applicable to sites like GOV.UK?

No. While I’ll show you a lot of things I use in the public sector, 99% of the patterns are applicable to all sectors. In fact, I consider knowing them to be an advantage for people who work in the private sector.

Do I need to know how to code?

Knowing some HTML would be a bonus, but it’s not essential. I’ve had content designers, UXers and UI designers who don’t know how to code go through the challenge without a hitch. The reason I include code in my lessons is because UX is intertwined with the inner workings. But if you come across some code feel free to gloss over it or pass it on to your devs.

Is the course only applicable to websites? What about apps?

The course is primarily aimed at products, services and websites that people use through a browser. But the vast majority of what I teach is applicable to apps too.

Will there be homework?

Yes, there are missions for each week of the challenge. But you can still move onto the next week if you don’t complete the mission.

What if I miss a week?

You can catch up later. I’ll record the Q&A calls so you can watch them back.

Will I have instant access to all weeks from the start?

No, you’ll go through the challenge on a weekly basis. This means the entire cohort will go through the challenge together.

How long will I have access to the content and community for?

For as long as I’m running the challenge (which I plan to be doing for many years).

“Everyone working on digital experiences should take Adam’s Form Design Challenge (and read his book!). We need more proponents of the kind of "boring" (but wickedly effective) design Adam advocates for. My main reason I took the Challenge was to argue more effectively for this and I can confidently say I certainly added to the arguments in my toolbox. Adam’s examples are clear, hard-hitting and full of helpful advice, including code snippets explained at a level every product designer should be able to understand. And even though I was very much a convert already, the Challenge definitely helped address some of my less-than-stellar practice and regain a commitment to simple and inclusive design at every level of detail.”
Marcos Villasenor at CI&T Lead UX Designer

Join the waiting list

You’ll also get my free email course which reveals the 7 biggest form design mistakes that UXers make all the time.

Yay, you made it to the bottom

See: users don’t mind scrolling.

Think of all the fancy UX patterns that were designed to solve the scrolling “problem”.

But there isn’t a problem.

You’re proving that right now.

You’re still reading.

You’re focused on the content.

Yay, you’re even reading this.

Who knew the footer of a website could be so much fun.

Okay, the end.

See ya.

Wow, you’re still here.

I should probably whack a few more testimonials here.

“Adam’s Form Design Mastery course is a must for anyone who is in the business of designing and building forms that convert and work accessibly. Even as a very experienced designer myself, the tips and discussions really helped give me a deeper level of understanding and techniques that I’ll be using going forward. The recorded lessons are well structured and the weekly Q&A sessions are brilliant!”
Sajhd Hussain Senior UX Designer at John Lewis & Partners
“I’m a developer with little design experience, so it was difficult to confidently justify my design choices to stakeholders and involving them in the design process was messy and frustrating. Taking Adam’s course gave me knowledge and techniques that I could directly apply in my work. I recently delivered a government form in which stakeholders wanted over 7 complex data points from the user. Using techniques I learned from the course, I managed to negotiate with stakeholders such that we now only ask for 2 (and the second one is optional). That is not to say that this course is only useful for people who make forms in civil service. The awesome thing is that Adam shows how these techniques and principles also apply to commercial services. On top of that, the course gives you access to a community of clever designers, developers and managers from all sorts of industries.”
Pandu Supriyono Web Developer
“As a frontend dev, I was aware of many problematic form design patterns. It was frustrating because I knew what not to do, but not what I should do. That’s no longer the case because Adam has equipped me with solutions to build great forms. I’d recommend the course to anyone who believes in building accessible, robust and useful products for the web.”
Nathan Knowler Senior Frontend Developer
“I highly recommend this course because Adam’s approach is very pragmatic and practical. He’s not caught up in fads, but always gets to the essence of the problem. The patterns in this program will still work 10 years from now.
Toshi Hayashi Product Designer at Palo Alto Networks
“I’ve been always asking myself if the forms I’m designing are good this the best I can do? So, reading numerous articles, and attending webinars and courses still didn’t help me to find the missing piece. Thanks to Adam’s Form Design Mastery course now I’ve found a new perspective and a fresh point of view I have been searching for! I’d highly recommend this training because Adam has lots of experience that is based on research, well-thought-out interactions, accessibility, ‘how-to’ guidelines for development, and a welcoming atmosphere for brainstorming. Thank you, Adam!”
Nataliia Bieschastnova Senior UX/UI Designer at Kyndryl