Get the most out of your web platform by designing forms that are optimized for conversion.

Usability is a crucial element to any website. It combines pieces such as page optimization, design and navigation, and is what ultimately connects user experience with functionality. But, when it comes to overall consideration for usability, not all elements are created equal. One link in this ever-critical chain that often finds itself criminally underrated is what is known as web form usability. Have you ever filled out a survey, submitted an application, applied for a contest or made a purchase online? Was it a bigger hassle than it should have been? This is where web form usability comes into play. This seemingly minute detail tends to get overlooked when a site is being created. That’s because it’s such a common occurrence for us, it doesn’t draw much consideration despite how often it will come into play. Think of it as an everyday occurrence in real life. How much thought do you put into setting your alarm, swiping your credit card or washing your hair? These are so engrained into our routines that we tend to put them on autopilot. So goes the case of web form usability. It’s important to note, however, that this is one web element that truly matters. It acts as a conversational gateway between brand and consumer. It’s the window into what users are thinking and the feedback they may have. It’s the end result of your calls-to-action. So, the last thing you want to do is frustrate these individuals with an insufferable experience. Let’s take a look at 7 ways you can create better, more engaging forms for your customers:

1. Less is More

As it goes with most design elements, the more you add, the more complicated things become. Think about sites you frequent such as Twitter, AirBnB or Instagram. Their intuitive designs inform you on what to do without ever really telling you what to do. That’s the kind of experience you should strive for in your forms.


2. Only Get What You Need

Consider the purpose of your form and stick to the information you need. If you want users to sign up for your mailing list, don’t ask them for their Twitter handles. If they’re making a purchase, don’t inquire about their phone number or the best time to reach them. The more irrelevant the questions, the less likely your customers will be to complete the process.


3. Include a Strong Call to Action

Increase website conversions by presenting a strong CTA which allows users to immediately know what is being asked of them. It’s a simple tweak that follows through on the ‘less is more’ idea.


4. Not Everyone is a Robot

Now that bots are commonplace throughout the Internet, there will always be a need to verify the identity of your respondents. But, let’s not go overboard with the validations—one is typically enough. The quality of your validation is also important, as most users don’t want to spend 10 minutes typing in a CAPTCHA that they just can’t seem to figure out.


5. K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple. You should always strive to keep your questions short and sweet. The longer they become, the more convoluted your form appears. Try to whittle down any sentence length questions to one or two words and see how that looks. For instance, if you have a field that asks, “What is your email address,” why not simply put, “Email”. The result will be less words overall and a less intimidating experience for your customers.


6. Go for the Sale

Before anyone fills out your form, they’re going to need a good reason to do so. Make it interesting. Make it compelling. Make every word on the page count. The more authentic and engaging your introduction or sell is, the more likely customers will be to actually complete the task you’re asking of them.


7. Be Polite

If you are talking with a friend at the lunch table and they get up to leave, you’d say, “Goodbye,” right? That same level of compassion and politeness should be extended to your customers—especially if they just took the time to fill out your form. Thank them for their time and let them know you appreciate their efforts. It may seem like a small gesture, but they’ll be happier for it. You should also give a quick nod to let them know you received their input, as ambiguity is never fun when you’re taking time out of your day to submit an opinion or personal information.

So, there you have it. The next time you’re in the process of building a new site or just overhauling your current one, take into consideration every element you’re presenting to customers. Even the most common of page elements could make all the difference when it comes to impressing or infuriating users.

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