Web forms may not be the most glamorous aspect of web design, but getting them right is crucial – how many times have you given up on a website in frustration at a poorly implemented form?
We build websites, optimise and market them – so we often pay special attention to form implementation. Get it wrong and your conversion rate suffers – that means less sales, less newsletter sign-ups, less leads coming through, less downloads. Whatever a conversion is for you, it’s highly likely that you either have to have a form in front of it, or you want one for marketing purposes.
Potential web form stumbling blocks:
- Badly laid out for mobile – a common issue, leaving the user awkwardly scrolling up and down, zooming in and out. This can sometimes be so bad that the form is essentially broken on mobile.
- Validation – proper validation is a must and often employing a CAPTCHA is a sensible precaution against reams of spam. However it should be helpful and unobtrusive, aiding the proper filling in of the form. It’s unfortunate that password forms are often the worst culprits – sadly sometimes even insisting on requirements that reduce, not increase, the security of the given password.
- Resetting after failed validation – following on from the previous point, resetting the form completely after failed validation is incredibly frustrating. Personally it’s the main reason I would ever give up on a form!
- Broken buttons – broken buttons and drop downs that don’t scroll or select options properly will either lead to a drop in forms filled or inaccurate data being collected.
- Inappropriate option choices – options should be available such that everyone can fill the form in accurately. Don’t presume to know where in the world your visitor is from, or give them a limited range of valid entries for something as variable as ‘occupation’.
- Length – there should be a balance between getting the treasure trove of data you want and not annoying visitors by giving them the 3rd Aim to be concise!
- Confirmation – whilst this may not interfere with actually getting a form completed, it’s still an important part of the process. Your form should clearly be able to communicate whether or not the submission was successful. It’s often preferred to do this by passing the visitor to a thank-you page designed especially for this purpose. If you pass them back to where they came from and add in a small message somewhere on the page it may get missed!
To help you create great forms that avoid these mistakes JotForm have developed Form Designer and they’re celebrating those designing great forms with awards for the best in the business. A tidy $7500 is up for grabs for the overall best form design. Additional categories could bag you $500. I wonder if that includes the category for worst form design?
For more information and to enter go to http://www.jotform.com/awards/