Creating a Digg Style Sign Up Form
Digg.com is one of the most popular social networking sites, allowing you to discover and share the content all over the web. In this tutorial we are going to simulate their signup form, with unique features such as their dynamic tooltips that give you a hint on each field that is to be filled. The same approach will be adopted for displaying validation messages.
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Before we get started, you may like to view a demo of the end result.
How this form works?
When an input field receives focus, a tooltip with a small blue icon is shown under it. On the other hand, if validation fails, an error message is shown in the same place. Both cases are shown on the screenshot below.
We are not going to recreate the entire form, but rather a few fields just to see how it works. Let’s take a closer look at the code sample. Each field row has a label, an input field, an info message and a validation message. Below you can see the HTML structure and CSS classes.
Note that, by default, both info and validation messages are hidden, which is set in tooltipContainer CSS class.
<h3>Join Now! It’s quick and easy.</h3>
<label for=“txtFirstname”>Choose a username</label>
<input id=“txtFirstname” type=“text” />
<div class=“tooltipContainer info”>Minimum 4 characters, maximum 15 characters. This is your handle on Digg so don’t make it too personal.</div>
<div class=“tooltipContainer error”>Rats! Username must be between 4 and 15 characters.</div>
// other rows here
padding:0px 0px 10px 0px;
Now let’s add some interactivity
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, an info tooltip should be shown each time an input field gets focus and hidden when it loses it. Turn this into jQuery code and you get this:
Simple, isn’t it? Now, let’s see how to handle validation messages. We are going to create fake validation just for the purpose of this tutorial. We’ll use jQuery again.
var text = $(this).attr(“value”);
if (text == “”)
In essence, what the code above does is it shows a validation message for each field that the user hasn’t entered text in. Please keep in mind that this is not real validation, it just simulates what would happen if validation failed. You would have to implement your own logic, eg. check for mandatory fields, email address format and so on.
Ok, after pressing the sign-in button, validation messages will be shown. Signup form on Digg.com hides these messages and replaces them with info tooltips when the user starts to type. So we are missing a piece of code that will hide validation messages that were previously shown.
Let’s do it the dirty way. We’ll extend our jQuery code that controls the appearance of tooltips to hide corresponding validation messages each time an input field gets focus.
You saw how to recreate the Digg.com signup form with simple CSS and just a few lines of jQuery code. However, there are a few pieces of advice I’d like to give you:
- Do not overwork the form – there is really no need for a tooltip that says “Enter your first and last name in the field that says First and Last name”. Instead, you can provide a message that shows a constraint, for example “Maximum 35 characters”.
- Use tooltip/validation color other that text color – try hitting the “Continue” button on Digg.com signup form before entering any text. The form becomes very hard to read and it’s difficult to distinguish where one field ends and the next begins.