What you should have in account before creating a web form

Filling a form or answering a questionnaire is boring.  If it’s a necessary step you have to take in order to get something you really want, there’s only so much you can tolerate before giving up and clicking away from the website.  If you don’t have  the motivation to complete the form, you’ll find any excuse to close the browser window and do something better instead, like checking Facebook or watching paint dry.

Luckily there are a few good practices that will improve the number of users who will complete this tedious task:      

 

LESS IS MORE

You’ve probably heard this sentence before but the fact that this saying has been repeated over and over doesn’t make it less right. Are all the fields you have in your form necessary? REALLY necessary? Do you need to know the profession of a user so they can sign into your website?

In an ideal world, it would be nice to know much more about your potential customers to target your email campaigns accordingly or fill your database with powerful insights to improve your product. However, in the world we’re living in, it’s best to just get people registered into your system, despite not knowing if they’d rather have coffee or tea for breakfast.

 

 

RIGHT MOMENT, RIGHT PLACE

We don’t mind sharing certain aspects about our life, but we’ve all suffered spam or marketing calls so we are not willing to give our contact details away so easily. Knowing when to ask for these details can be the difference between losing prospects or winning them forever.  

 

Normally, the best moment to ask for this information is right at the end of your form. Once the user has filled in everything else,  the fear of filling everything in again is stronger than the reluctance to reveal their contact details.

 

Also, don’t hesitate to clarify what a question is about or why you are asking for certain data. Knowing why we have to reveal certain information makes us feel better about revealing it.

 

Lastly, for difficult parts, it never hurts to indicate where the information you are requiring can be found. For example showing visually where the CVV numbers on a credit card are.

 

 

DESIGN IS THE SPOONFUL OF SUGAR

As said before, it’s important to know when to ask for certain data, but it’s just as important to know how to ask it. Facing a form which spans a whole screen and continues after scrolling down will discourage the most motivated of your users. Try to distribute the content on several pages and see your conversions boost. But continue reading…

If your website’s form is currently taking that amount of space, when you split it on different pages, you’d need to consider adding a progress bar. A visual way to show how much is left will increase the amount of users who are willing to finish filling it. Knowing how much torture is left makes it less hard to suffer.

We often believe that users will look at every pixel of the screen with attention. Not in vain, each page takes a lot of time to be created, so why wouldn’t they? Unfortunately, that’s not the way content is scanned on a page, and in a form this is more obvious than anywhere else:

  • Always display the information required on each box on top of it, so it’s clear that they are referring to the field right below. You can show a sample of the expected content inside the box (making it visually obvious that it needs to be filled), but never the name of the field itself (unless they are floating labels).

Look at this great sample by Matt D Smith

  • Technology was invented to make our life easier: use it. Predictive search or filtering options based on previous information will make users feel you care for their time. For example, if they have entered their postal code, they could either write their street name or select it from a type ahead box.
  • Pay special attention to those fields with numbers involve.
  • Have I filled something wrong or I forgot a certain field? No worries, but make visually clear which ones are missing.

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