Web forms are an important means of communication between your company and its customers, so ensuring that they have a high-quality User Experience (UX) is critical.
Indeed, web forms may play an important part in assisting your users in completing activities that are often inextricably linked to the success of your business.
Though they’re an often overlooked, yet integral part of the user experience, form fields provide a way for users to give companies their information and allow for better communication between both parties.
Even though they’re not the most engaging aspect of your website, there are ways to make them more user-friendly and ultimately improve your form UX.
The design of any web form comes down to balancing simplicity, clarity, ease of use, and best practice guidance.
And while there might be no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to web form design, by consistently applying the web form UX guidelines listed in this article you’ll be able to create web forms that are easy to use, minimize errors and ensure users complete them in a timely manner.
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A shorter web form means it’s going to be easier for users to complete. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is by cutting out unnecessary questions that aren’t directly related to the task at hand or that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
Just because you have an extra field doesn’t mean it has to be completed, so use your best judgment.
For example, if a user needs to provide personal information in order for your company to fulfill their request, it might make sense not to ask them their opinion on web design before requiring them to enter their name and email address.
That way they can easily see how important entering these details will be when completing the web form.
Another good approach is splitting web form fields into multiple pages for longer forms, which allows users to complete the webform in chunks.
This is convenient for web visitors compared to having a web form that asks for all required information on one page.
Forms should be as wide-ranging as possible, but it’s important not to try and collect every bit of information about your web visitors; this can be off-putting and time-consuming – after all, why would anyone want to share their entire background with a company they’ve never interacted with before?
For example, having separate web form fields for “first name” and “last name” isn’t really necessary (unless there are specific legal or organizational requirements that demand it).
In most cases, your web visitors will be able to find what they’re looking for by using a web search engine.
Another example is having web form fields with labels such as “telephone” and “fax number.”
Most people have cell phones now, so the majority of web visitors won’t have a working fax machine or be willing to enter their full phone number on a web form (which some web forms still require.)
Instead of asking for information that isn’t helpful or necessary, use alternative means like Google Maps to suggest web visitors’ locations based on their IP address; this can help you avoid asking web visitors for information that they may consider private.
Web forms should be as simple as possible, so web visitors can easily figure out what each web form field is for and how to complete it.
For example, if you have a web form asking web visitors to specify their state or province of residence, don’t assume they’ll know that the web form’s “postal code” webform field needs both upper and lower case letters (i.e., specifying the postal code does not require any capital letters).
If you’re unsure whether your web forms will be used by international audiences, use the correct format for all countries; this includes country-specific web forms such as India’s alpha-numeric postal codes (i.e., 11th character in a seven-digit web form field is the first letter of the city name) and web forms for Middle Eastern countries that require web form fields to be left blank if they’re not used.
Asking web visitors about their preferred format (i.e., “Would you like to receive emails or text messages?”) can help minimize web form abandonment, especially with international webforms where some web visitors might only use one method of communication.
If you want your web visitors to fill out every web form field, make it as easy as possible for them by providing simple options (i.e., radio buttons), avoiding long lists of multiple choice answers, and making sure all radio button options are inclusive.
Don’t force web visitors to choose between options that aren’t reflective, useful, or important.
This includes web form fields where web visitors have to choose one web form field option even though they may be able to use two (i.e., date of birth and age.)
A good way of avoiding this type of web form design issue is by using window pop-ups for web form field window choices.
Web forms with multiple web form field windows can help web visitors complete a web form without having to “tab” through every web form field; make sure the tooltip text and submit button for each web form field window match up (i.e., if you say 20 in the tooltip, make sure the radio button says 20 as well.)
When web visitors enter incorrect information into web form fields (or leave web form fields blank), they can get frustrated and annoyed; web forms that don’t validate web visitor input can cause your website to lose web visitors and damage relationships with existing and potential customers.
Web forms should not only make it easier for web visitors to complete a task, but also give them the confidence that their responses will be acted upon immediately and accurately.
This means making sure:
By limiting options on web forms, web visitors will feel less overwhelmed and find it more likely that they’ll complete a web form.
If your web visitors would rather make an appointment over the phone instead of using a web form, don’t use a web form;
If your web visitors would rather make an appointment in person or via Skype, don’t use a web form.
Not only does web form design affect web user experience, but web forms can also have a big impact on your organization’s business processes and adoption of digital technologies.
Using web forms just because you’re used to them isn’t going to help anyone – not even yourself.
If web forms are too long it will be harder for web visitors to complete them accurately and/or get frustrated and abandon the web form submission process before they’ve finished filling out all required fields.
This includes asking for things such as blood type, marital status, number of children, occupation/role in a company, etc.
The web form fields a web user is required to fill out should all be relevant and important to the web form task.
If web forms are too long, web visitors may also feel as though they’re being asked for personal information just to make it feel like there was a point to having web forms in the first place – if web users feel this way, they might start thinking that forming an opinion about your organization based on their web form experience isn’t really that bad an idea.
When you design web forms it’s our job to imagine what life will be like for web visitors once they’ve started using the web form; even if the majority of people won’t need any help with web forms, some web visitors will need more support than others.
Where web form help is necessary the webform should include web form instructions (i.e., web form guidelines) that are easy to read and understand; web form instructions don’t need to be written in English (or any other human language), but they do need to be unambiguous.
For example, it’s not a good idea to write “Please enter your health insurance number” as the web form instruction for entering an email address on a web form because some web visitors might have more than one health insurance number – or know someone who does.
Instead, you could write “If you have multiple email addresses please specify which one you would like us to use.”
When possible web forms should collect web visitor information when web visitors need it in order to avoid unnecessary web form steps.
For example, web form instructions can ask web visitors if they need a web form help or tell them how many web form steps there are (i.e., “You’ve finished the first of 2 web forms steps” at the end of step 1 and “You’ve finished the final web form step” at the end of step 2.)
Web form help that’s quick and easy to access may just be enough to get web users past any issues they’re having with your organization’s web forms – even if after reading the web form instructions you think you know what the problem is, try doing what the web user did before suggesting a solution – web form help is web form support, web form guidance is web form tutoring.
Quite a few of the web form UX tips we’ve mentioned here will be useful for any type of business. Your website’s form UX can have a big impact on your conversion rate. By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to create forms that are easy for web visitors to complete and minimize the chance of them abandoning their purchase or lead submission before hitting submit or going back to search through another site.
Acodez is one of the best UX design agencies in India. The latest technology trends of website design are followed to provide the clients with the best web services to provide a better UX design experience to the users. This, in turn, has helped the organizations get better returns on their investment.
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