Web forms are an essential part of any website to capture our visitor’s information. Each form has its purpose whether we use it for contact information, create subscribers, request for quote, registration, billing information, shipping, and so on. A lot of times I find that there is no real thought on how forms are created, it’s not user friendly, lack of help information, some do not have validation, unsecure and the list goes on. T o have an effective form that your visitors will complete requires some thought and how we can make it easier to use without experiencing any type of resistance to the user.
It’s even more important now today with the different touchpoints which users interact with your forms that greater planning and considerations are added to the workflow. A poorly designed web forms will leave many to abandon their effort to complete the form and is a lost opportunity for you.
Clearly state what the purpose of the form they are going to complete. Inform them what their personal information will be used. They will be much more inclined to complete the form once they understand the purpose. You want to convey transparency and full disclosure.
Where have I seen this before where design, alignment and layout is completely ignored. Forms are not the easiest to create and if you want your visitors to use the form, you need to convey trust for them to share their personal information with you. Spend the necessary time to make sure that your form titles and textfield are properly aligned, spaced out evenly, gutter width is minimal.
3. Tool Tips
You can never be too lackadaisical with proving tool tips or help information next to the field, specifically where certain formats must be entered for the form information to be accepted. This will help them know what and how they should input the information on the field.
4. Required Fields
When you determine which information you want to capture, make sure that you keep it to a minimum, users know if you are asking for too much information based on the purpose of the form. Once you have determined which information are needed, make the fields “required”. Note, do not wait until they submit the form to inform them of which fields were missed or incorrectly filled, it’s best to inform them when they tab to the next field. Make it clear to inform your users the exact format the field will accept.(ei. phone numbers, zip/postal code, email address).
Use this option as much as you can. Making it as simple as possible for the users to complete the form is the objective. If they do not have to type, don’t give them that option. (ei. state/province, country). This will also ensure consistency with your data for certain field where users might use different methods to submit the information.
This is probably one of the most neglected parts of the form process. This is more so for forms that are lengthy and exceeds the browser fold. It is confusing and difficult to pinpoint if the corrections is not caught immediately, meaning after they completed the field. Waiting until they complete the form only to find out that they did not complete the form correctly just adds to the frustration of completing the form. Make correction notice or alerts immediately for better and improved user experience.
Take the necessary step and make the information which the user completed displayed for confirmation. This is very useful for the user to know that the information they shared is correct and that it has been collected properly. This could be a simple page that shows the result or an email submission with a thank you note.
Following this guideline will go a long way in creating trust with users who completed your form, and most importantly increased form conversion.