5 Tips for Designing Effective Web Forms
Taylor Pettis May 5th, 2020
For the past five years, you’d assume that the average conversion rate has increased (at least slightly) as businesses master web form design. Unfortunately, that’s not even remotely the case.
The average conversion rate is 2.35% in 2020, and this rate hasn’t really budged from 2015. On the other hand, once you start looking away from the averages, you’ll start seeing much higher conversion rates that originate from the top 25% brands.
This is where optimizing and creating responsive web forms come into play. These brands have figured out the right mix of web form styles that best suit their brand and their customers. The same can apply to you.
Keep on reading to learn all about the components of forms, the top five tips for creating a great web form design, and why it all matters.
Web Form Design 101: Why It Matters
The premise behind great web forms is facilitating the way between your website visitor, basically your potential customer, and their goal.
Yet, not all customers see it that way. Badly designed forms can be seen as a blockage between the customer and their goal that brought them to your website in the first place.
The truth of the matter is that web forms are one of the most important types of interactions for customers on the web and in apps. These forms are —traditionally— one of the final steps in the conversion phase and in the customer’s journey.
Therefore, as a business, you should be seeing forms as a means to an end. They should be streamlined and easy to use, so the customer can complete it quickly, without confusion and fully convert.
The Components Of Forms
Before we take a deep dive into the five tips on great web form design, let’s breakdown the components of forms.
Traditionally, you’ll find six main components.
- Structure: This entails the order of fields, the form’s appearance on the page as well as the connections between the different fields
- Input Fields: This component spans text fields, password fields, checkboxes, sliders, and any type of fields that’s been designed for user input
- Labels: It’s connected to the input fields. Its primary objective is to tell users what the corresponding input fields mean
- Action Buttons: It does exactly what it sounds like. When a user presses a button, an action is performed
- Feedback: This component sends feedback to the user informing them about the result of their input. Usually, these come in a text format, a message that can be positive or negative. For example, it can be a confirmation of a correctly submitted form, or an error that the data the user entered isn’t correct.
- Validation: Heavily tied to feedback, this component works on ensuring that the user’s data is valid.
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Web Form Design Tips
Now that we have a firm grasp on form characteristics, it’s time to check out the top tips on how to better these components’ design. This, in turn, will help you create great web forms.
1. FORM STRUCTURE: ASK ONLY WHAT IS REQUIRED
It might be tempting to ask your potential customers for more information than needed just to get a better idea about their wants and needs.
However, for every question that is unnecessary, the more likely it is to lose your visitor. In addition, every extra field you add to your form will negatively affect its conversion rate.
Therefore, make sure you’re only requesting the necessary information from your user, knowing exactly how you’ll be using it to better your customer journey.
2. INPUT FIELDS: AVOID OPTIONAL FIELDS
No one likes volunteering information. Therefore, try your best to avoid optional fields in your form.
It’ll take up space, negatively affect your conversion rate, and —most likely— will be left empty.
Yet, if you must use them, make sure to clearly distinguish them from mandatory fields by using the conventional asterisk (*) for the required fields.
3. LABELS: DECREASE NUMBER OF WORDS
There is no doubt that having clearly written labels can make a UI much more accessible to your website visitor. After all, a good label will tell the user about the purpose of the field and what they need to enter.
However, that doesn’t mean that labels are help text. They need to be short, descriptive and to-the-point. This way your user can scan quickly through the label and fill in their data without pause.
4. ACTION BUTTONS: CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION WISELY
In the simplest of terms, clicking an action button triggers a specific activity, like submission of the form for example.
Yet, if the location of the button doesn’t match its triggered action, it might not be clicked at all.
For instance, with complex forms, you’ll usually have a back button on hand. If the button is located awkwardly right below an input field, your user might click it by accident.
Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that buttons that are “secondary” in nature are less accessible than “primary” buttons that tackle primary actions.
5. VISUAL FEEDBACK: SHOWCASE PROCESSING AND VALIDATION STATUS
For specific action buttons, you’ll have to make sure that the feedback is visible and always in real-time.
For example, you can design the “submit” button in a way that indicates that the form is processing right after the user’s action.
This provides prompt feedback to the user, which decreases confusion, as well as preventing double submission.
Moreover, you should integrate validation with feedback. Your form should inform users about the validity of their inputs right after they add it to the form.
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Improve Your Web Form Design: The Key to Boosting Your Conversion Rates
There is a host of untapped conversion rate potential in your web form design.
It’s truly astonishing how a well-designed web form can boost your lead generation, increase your conversion rate, and even enhance your customer experience.
Now, you have all the top five tips on designing a great web form for your business Yet, there is still so much to learn.
Our blog has a plethora of business tips and advice on how to add a personal touch to your automated emails, as well as how to navigate your multitude of customer communication channels. Make sure you go and take a look.