11 June 2012
Some prior experience with designing XFA-based forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer is desirable.
This article discusses some of the best practices for creating LiveCycle forms using LiveCycle Designer. It does not apply to a particular version of LiveCycle Designer and should not be considered as a step-by-step guide for creating forms, but it represents general practices to improve and standardize processes. Before implementing these best practices, ensure that they fit in your overall strategy for designing forms and align with your organizational needs.
Defining best practices and molding them into processes is an ongoing activity as individuals and teams gain experience with creating forms.
An important aspect of any LiveCycle form is its design and layout. It defines how convenient or difficult users find to interact with the form. Ideally, a form should be readable, uncluttered, logically laid out, and easy to use.
Consider the following practices when designing the form layout:
Another important aspect of standardizing processes while creating forms is to follow a naming convention. If you are using Script Object Model (SOM) expressions to reference objects, it becomes all the more important to follow simple and standardized naming conventions.
Naming conventions are usually specific to one's organization, and therefore should be defined keeping the requirements in mind before the development of forms begins.
The following best practices can help you set standards for naming conventions:
To accelerate the creation of forms while minimizing the effort, you should consider creating templates and reusable form components. These templates and reusable components can be a good starting point for quickly creating new forms and sharing components between multiple forms. It allows for a seamless and scalable forms maturity model within an enterprise. In addition, it helps in standardizing forms across the organization.
The following lists some of the best practices on reusing components:
Designer scripts and calculations can extend and enhance the functionalities of the forms to provide a rich user experience. Although most of the enhancements can be made using various features in Designer, some Form Developers are more comfortable using scripting.
Here're some best practices when using scripting in Designer:
Accessibility is an important factor to consider when designing XFA-based forms. Conforming to the accessibility standards ensures that your form is enhanced for users with disabilities. The Accessibility palette in Designer allows you to enhance the usability of forms for users with disabilities using LiveCycle forms and tagged forms.
All the points discussed in this article contribute to creating accessible forms. In addition:
We have discussed, in brief, the best practices for designing LiveCycle forms. For more details, visit the links in the Suggested readings section throughout the article.
In addition, the documentation and reference material for LiveCycle Designer 10 is available at LiveCycle ES3 Documentation page.
Although the documentation should answer most of your questions, feel free to initiate and participate in discussions.