Web forms can be found on almost every website, and are one of the most useful conversion tools available.
As overlong web forms and misleading directions can scare away potential customers, this is one aspect of your website that you must get right as soon as possible. Luckily, there are several ways to ensure that your web forms will perform to their fullest.
1. Do not use any unnecessary fields
Time is precious for everyone. If your form has too many fields for the users to complete, your conversion rate is bound to be low. Your forms should be as simple as possible, asking only for the necessary information whilst avoiding any information that is not required. Your users are likely to get overwhelmed by massive forms, so make sure your form is simple and easy to complete.
2. Always highlight clearly the required fields
It is very important to have a clear way of identifying the required fields in your form. Otherwise, your visitors might think that the form is requesting too much information. They might not want to share some of the information you are requesting, and they have a right to choose what they disclose. Give them the option to choose what to share with you, and make it very clear which fields are optional, and which are mandatory.
3. Provide descriptive error messages
If your visitors make an error while completing the form, highlight the error field and provide clear details of what they must do to correct it. Leaving your visitors to guess what went wrong will greatly increase the abandonment rate.
4. Give input examples
In many web forms, some fields can sometimes be tricky to complete. For example, dating conventions. Americans prefer MM/DD/YY whilst Europeans opt for the DD/MM/YY format. If you provide examples of the input you are expecting, users will immediately know how to complete the field. This will mean that more forms are completed, and fewer forms are abandoned.
5. Save the form data
Make sure that you save what your visitors enter in your forms. This way, if they go back because of an error, or because they missed something, they will not need to enter all of their information again.
6. Avoid using “submit” in your submission Call to Action
“Submit” is far too vague. Using more descriptive wording to let your user know what they will be receiving having completing the form can act as a great Call to Action, encouraging them to complete the form. Good examples include “Get your quote”, or “Receive your discount”.
7. Use only one column
Avoid using two columns for your form input fields. Multiple columns can make it difficult for some users to understand and complete forms. Using one column will make the form look shorter, simpler, and easier to complete.
8. Make sure your form is international friendly
Make sure that your web forms are relevant and adaptable to all the countries in which you operate. This can be something as simple as accepting international postcodes, as opposed to simply American zip codes.
9. Do not use a cancel button
Cancel buttons should be avoided. Think of your web forms as your website’s salesperson. Imagine if you were about to make a purchase in a shop, only to hear the salesperson say something like “Are you sure you want to buy this? Do you want to cancel?” On a web form, a cancel button acts as a negative distraction from the main goal, which, of course, is to complete the form.
To sum up, ensuring that your web forms are easy to use and easy to complete is important for your general website user experience. Through implementing all of the above suggestions, your conversions will hopefully go up.