How to Make Forms Easier for Users (and Better for You)

header-manstairsA website form has one purpose: to collect information you need. That works when people actually complete and submit your form.  So it is critically important that you make that process as easy as possible.

If you don’t get many form submissions, it’s time to evaluate. First ask, is this form needed? If an email address and phone number is all that is needed to make the right connection, then that is all that you should offer.

If a form is helpful to the user, the primary thing to keep in mind is that is should be as simple as possible. If all you need is an  email, delivery address, and payment details, then that is all you should collect on your form.

If you absolutely need more, than heed these recommendations:

  • Pay attention to design. If the form looks complicated, people will assume it is. This is one of the reasons why some websites use one-page or accordion checkouts. Another technique is to  chunk up the form into manageable and related segments.
  • Make data entry easy.  If a specific format is needed, make that clear. Offer options for common items as well as “other” for users who don’t think any of your options fit.
  • Make errors clear. Well-implemented form validation allows users to correct errors as they go along. This saves time, as well as the frustration that results when customers attempt to move on to the next stage of the form, only to find they have errors to correct.
  • Think mobile. People are increasingly accessing the web via mobile devices, so make sure your form is optimized for mobile browsers.