The majority of users visit websites knowing exactly what they want—and they’re almost always in a hurry. Complicated interfaces and flashy visuals become counterproductive, making the experience confusing, or worse, frustrating.
Keep in mind that the tiniest details can impact your web performance negatively. Poorly designed web forms, for example, cost businesses millions of dollars in revenue.
In this blog, we’ll show you how to make more effective web forms that will get your visitors to convert.
1. Limit form fields
If you’re aware of the power of data in online success, you’re probably tempted to mine as much as possible from your visitors. But as cyberattacks become more frequent, the hesitancy to fill out web forms likewise increases.
Nobody is a hundred percent comfortable while giving their information online, especially if they have to divulge too much to earn a simple request. That is why long web forms put users off and cause them to abandon ship.
Keep web forms short and straightforward. Ask only what’s necessary and save follow-up questions for future engagements.
Cutting down form fields from 11 to 4 can increase conversions by up to 120% since they would appear less daunting and non-invasive.
2. Use one column
The problem with having a web form with multiple columns is that it disrupts the natural flow of typing your answers. Users either have to scan the form in a ladder or Z pattern, slowing them down in the process.
A single column allows users to complete the task systematically, in a straight line down the page. This is an especially important reminder when long forms can’t be avoided.
3. Group related information
To make things easier for your users, group related questions in logical blocks or sets. Although the engagement is happening online, it should still feel like a conversation with your consumers.
In a real-life conversation, you don’t pop questions in random order. You start with the easiest thing you can ask and move on to the next topic that’s related to your previous query.
Digitally, this translates to organizing questions based on personal information, contact information, and home address (if needed). Again, lead with easy and less sensitive questions, and avoid asking for people’s phone numbers unless it’s absolutely necessary.
4. Provide summary boxes
As much as we’d like to keep things minimal, sometimes there’s no going around asking for personal information. Summary boxes address user concerns on the spot, alleviating some of the discomforts of filling out a web form.
Summary boxes are those small popup messages that explain why a user needs to give away their birthday, zip code, and other data.
Facebook clarifies why they need someone’s date of birth by posing the question “Why do I need to provide my birthday?”. On their sign-up form, the text is placed next to the corresponding form field, and when a user clicks on it, the summary box appears.
Some websites effectively extract information this way because it reassures users that their answers are going to be used to improve user experience. Still, it’s better not to pressure users into laying out their entire bio on their first visit. Weigh in the pros and cons, and clarify if some of your form fields are entirely optional.
5. Consider mobile-friendliness
A lot of us must have experienced filling out a web form on our mobile devices. And as you may have noticed, not every website takes into account mobile friendliness.
All of your web pages should be responsive to different screen sizes and resolutions. You can’t present your web forms on mobile the same way you do for desktops. Text should be big enough to read and users shouldn’t have to zoom in to click on fields or buttons.
Another neat tip is to provide the appropriate keyboard to the data being requested. For example, if a user clicks on a field asking for their credit card number, have their keyboard shift automatically to the number pad so that it’s easier for them to input their answer.
6. Enable autocomplete
On the subject of mobile friendliness, anything that minimizes typing is a win for mobile users. Small screens make consumers prone to error, especially if they’re typing long lines of text.
That is why the address field is the most problematic part of a web form when a visitor is on their phone. If they’re in a big rush, they could just exit your website. By enabling an autocomplete function, you minimize the need for unnecessary typing and lower your bounce rates.
Google developed Place Autocomplete Address Form which integrates geolocation and address prefilling to accomplish the field without a lot of manual input.
For other sections of your form, you can use an HTML autocomplete attribute. The attribute suggests values based on past entries or pre-set values you’ve configured.
7. Do inline validation
Arguably the most frustrating thing that can happen while answering a web form is finding out you’ve made an error after clicking submit. It’s twice as annoying if after being denied to proceed, the form doesn’t highlight where you’ve made a mistake.
To avoid these situations altogether, inline validation checks the form in real-time so that users can correct their entries before going to the next field.
When you do inline validation, don’t just give a generic error notification. Instead, tell users what’s wrong with their answer so they won’t have to guess what you’re looking for. It’s a quick add-on but it greatly improves checkout pages and boosts conversions.
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