Regardless of your business or online purpose, web forms are likely to play a vital role. Whether capturing email addresses, or placing orders, web forms are the backbone of direct customer communication. Unfortunately, without a perfectly designed form and adequate web server support, this digital lifeline can actually hinder reputation, conversions and user experiences.
Designing Web Forms for User Engagement
If you’re searching for the latest tips and guidance to create impactful and user-friendly web forms, then you’ve come to the right place. Cultivating a solid web form design and performance isn’t rocket science, but as it is with many other website elements, it can prove disastrous for your brand if improperly configured.
#1 – Design for Commonalities First
The majority of web forms have a straightforward purpose, such as submitting a question or filling our an order. The various entry fields within each form type are also quite predictable. Your primary focus when crafting web forms is to make the entire process as easy and predictable as possible. Remember, the human brain thrives on automation. Visitors have likely filled out hundreds of similar forms in the past. Make their experience as streamlined and straightforward as possible.
#2 – Leverage Visitor Behavior Data for Web Form Entry Design
This tip is mainly for those who are redesigning an existing order form. Pull data reports from previous forms and research the most commonly used options. In order forms, for example, prioritize payment options based upon the most frequently used. If certain non-required fields are always left blank, consider removing them. In the realm of modern website design, data truly is your best option.
#3 – One Topic for Each Page
When designing a multi-page form, such as shipping, product confirmation, shipping options and final review/confirmation, make sure that you keep it simple. Each page should only have entry fields for the primary topic. Avoid combining a multi-step form into a single page. This can be overwhelming, especially for visitors using a mobile device. Complex single-page forms are also more likely to have errors, which can ultimately cost you a sale.
#4 – Use a Clear and Branded Progression Bar
When dealing with a multi-page form, be sure to always include a clear and branded progression bar. This means, at the top of the form page include a progress bar that details the total number of pages and where the user is currently at within the form pages. Use a brief explanation underneath the page number to instantly inform users the primary purpose of each page. This can help reduce frustration or confusion among visitors, who otherwise wouldn’t understand why or how long the form actually is.
#5 – Use Accurate Entry Field Type Indicators
Form entry field type indicators are just that. They inform the browser what kind of information is going into each field. Common entry field types, for example, include email, phone number, shipping address, first/last name, etc. Because the majority of internet users access websites on their mobile device, entry field type indicators can instruct the mobile browser to use a numeric-only keyboard for phone numbers or credit card info instead of the standard alphanumeric keyboard.