Form Design: 20 tips on how to design a form that brings in conversions
Featured on almost every website available to common users, web forms are simply an element of web design built into the page that allows for the collection of information from the users. Check out these best practice tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your web forms.
These web forms can be used to gather contact information for further marketing opportunities, information about the demographics of your audience, and other vital bits of information to further your business and reach. Unfortunately though, depending on the design, these forms can sometimes be clunky, unappealing to look at, and discouraging to use. Having an eye-catching and easy-to-use customer-facing interface is going to ensure the best possible functionality of any web form you decide to use, and services provided by Designmodo can help make that choice an easy one. Listed below are the biggest things to consider when implementing your own web form templates and how to use them at their highest potential.
20 Best Practices on Form Design
1. Simple Design Form
Simplicity on a user-facing interface is going to be among the most important qualities in any form of design. Users tend to make snap judgments of a website or product based on how it looks. If a form is too complex, difficult to read, or hard to look at, the likelihood of the user filling it out is next to none.
Simple color schemes, layout designs, and field inclusions are great promoters of use in the long term. While you may favor a more eye-catching and detailed means of information collection, the general user is there for convenience and ease of use.
2. Single Column Design
Most web forms come in a single-column design for the reason listed above: Simplicity. Having a column kind of setup allows for a progression of information that it’s overwhelming to the eye. Users are less likely to fill out a form if it looks time-consuming and tedious, but by spacing out the content in a more digestible way, you can begin to promote more usage of your form.
Column designs in particular are a great addition to a webpage since the form can directly coincide with incentives like the product information and check-out screen, additional information about the email subscription your users are signing up for, and much more!
3. Position Copy
Going back to the previous point, the position of the web form can make all the difference. When paired with incentive-based marketing, a web form's use and functionality can be improved immensely. Where you put your form on your website can turn the tides for how effective it can really be, so long as it follows the template of simplicity and functionality over aesthetics and change.
4. Only Add Needed Fields
Adding needless or redundant fields to a web form can lead to a tedious and difficult task for users to endure. Like we’ve mentioned, it’s important to keep the process of providing information as easy and streamlined as possible. Adding fields too soon in the form, or adding needless and extra fields can lead to a user completely giving up on filling them out, or just avoiding the experience altogether.
Mobile users make up a huge chunk of the online world, especially with all the new devices users have at their disposal. Extra fields weigh down the abilities of mobile users and can isolate a whole demographic of people.
5. No Segmented Fields
When filling out information like phone numbers, social security numbers, or other segments of information, the last thing a user wants is to have to select a different field with each data group. By removing segmented fields, or not even implementing them in the first place, you can avoid a frustrating situation for the users on your site.
6. Indicate Optional Fields
When filling out forms online, there always seems to be helpful pieces of information, but not necessary. By cutting down on the perceived necessity of filling out every single box, you ensure that the user has agency over what information they want to include and cut down on the amount of information they have to fill out. Both of these components are major pluses in adding functionality to a web form.
7. Multi-Step VS Single-Step Forms
Similar to the single-column idea, multi-step forms versus single-step ones can be boiled down to function, aesthetics, and user-friendly features. It’s important to know your audience and what works best with them. Doing a test every once in a while can give incredible insight into how your users prefer to enter information, and will allow you to adjust accordingly.
Multi-step forms generally pool information based on information type and can make it easier for users to collect information that way. single-step forms on the other hand allow for an easy to look at means of information entry. It’s all about what works for you and your service.
8. Add Auto-Format
Similar to auto-fill, auto-format allows for information stored on a user's browsers to be transferred and connected to your web form. A great example of this is payment information in a check-out setting. This makes it easy for a customer to continue without having to stop and look for extra information that might not be readily available to them at the time. It ensures the customers' information is secure in their browser and that it’s convenient to use.
9. Allow Copy Paste
Copy and pasting options can be extremely helpful when entering information online. Unless the information pertains to things like payment method and shipping information, copy-paste is a feature that can really streamline the process of filling out a web form. It’s all about ease of use for the customer-facing side of things and limiting the amount they have to type works wonders in promoting customer engagement.
10. No Reset Form Option
The reset form option can be really helpful if the entire form is incorrect, but mostly the reset form option stands as a potential setback in gathering customer information.
Not only does the reset form option give customers an out when entering info, if pressed accidentally, but you also can discourage customers from reentry when needed. All in all, reset form options are little more than an additional link that can cost you engagement from your customers.
11. Don’t Use PopUps
Mobile users and desktop users alike have taken great steps to remove pop-ups from their day-to-day browsing experience. Adding them to your website might not only discourage customers from entering their information in the forms but they might also be discouraged from returning to your site completely.
12. Clear Call to Action Message
In the midst of all that’s going on with your online format, it can be really beneficial to have a specific call-out phrase or phrases that bring attention to the main topics and questions in your web form.
13. Call to Action Button in a Contrasting Color
The button to bring the user to the form where they can fill out actively sought-after data should be easily visible and stand out from the backdrop of the rest of your website. Eye-catching features on the site, if used sparingly, can really draw users in for the long term.
14. Testing Different Action Buttons
Just like the test for multi-step versus single-step forms, testing the action button aesthetics, function, colors, and more can provide much-needed insight into the use and demographic of your content.
15. Reduce Friction
Friction boils down to the obstacles a consumer might need to face when dealing with or moving through your website. Things like failure to load, failure to send, unclear instructions, or inability to accept certain formats of information can make it more difficult to use your service.
The more a user has to work around your service issues and friction problems, the less likely they are to actively engage in changes and use in general. It’s also important to remember that word of mouth advertising is an effective booster for any service, and an effective killer as well. If your service is consistently unreliable and difficult to work with, people will begin to negatively speak on the issue.
16. Avoid Captchas
Captchas are a means of verification and ensuring the user is not a preprogrammed bot. Unfortunately, though, captchas can stand as a frustrating and needless obstacle for most users. By removing the verification prompts when unnecessary, you can help to avoid consistent issues in the functionality of your web form.
17. Add Chat Feature or Contact Information
Being able to contact the administrator of the site or service is of the utmost importance to some users, especially those with questions and concerns. As a service or product provider, you should be always accessible to answer questions and alleviate frustration.
18. Start with the Easy Questions First
When filling out forms, users tend to work through the easy questions much faster and easier than the more complex ones. This means that the more easy questions you have upfront, the more likely it’ll be that the customer will stay to fill out the more troublesome questions later down the line.
19. Add a Progress Bar
When expecting the completion of a longer-term form, it can be beneficial to a client to include a means of keeping track of progress, not only to show how much time they’ve spent and to discourage giving up, but also to encourage them to keep going by showing how little is left. This allows the user to determine if they have the time, patience, and information needed to fill out the form completely, which then ensures that the forms filled out are done with care and time involved.
20. Predictive Search and Auto-Fill
Going back to auto-fill features, predictive search and auto-fill allow a user to automatically fill out a form when available without needing to type any more than they have to. While this feature is a little different than auto-format, the effect stays the same. Both the auto-fill and predictive search make for easy and effective browsing and entry experience.
There are dozens of methods to better your service and web forms in a way that benefits both you and your consumers. By adding just a few of these methods, the conversion rate on your web form is likely to skyrocket. Trial and error are always going to be an effective way of figuring out your business for further growth, but employing services with tried and true methods of growth and efficiency can certainly help.
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