Common Online Form Mistakes: Are You Making These Critical and Costly Errors?

Although you’re responsible for creating online forms, you’re also likely a user. And this means you know exactly what it feels like to be asked for buckets of information when filling out what should be a simple form. The form demands your name, address, phone number, date of birth and name of your firstborn child.

While that last item might be a slight exaggeration, a few basic and common blunders could be sabotaging your conversion rates.

Multi-Part vs. Single Step Forms
There are advantages to using both multi-part and single step forms, however, it’s important to select the right form based on your unique situation. For example, with a multi-part form, a key contact field, such as email, is collected during the first step in the process. This way, even if the user doesn’t fully complete the form, your company can still get in touch with them. This is a good approach for companies who are focused on lead generation.

In contrast, if you’re using the form for registration, a single step form might be a good option. This type of form has a lower chance of drop off since the user is more aware upfront of the type of information and time that will be required.

The Call to Action Button
Along with the type of form you select, it’s also important to consider the call to action button. For example, using the generic “submit” button as the call to action for every form can lower conversion rates by as much as 3 percent. Instead, try and associate the call to action as closely as possible with users’ expectation of results based on the purpose of the form. If they are registering to be a user of your site, “Sign Up” or “Join our Group” would be more aligned with the purpose of the form and help reassure users they are taking the correct action. This reassurance will help drive up conversions.

In addition, you should also consider the length of your online form. When users are completing forms, they want to avoid “working too hard.” But trimming the number of fields means prioritizing what’s most important to include. So how do you pick and choose?

Selecting Fields Wisely
A recent infographic showed that one company increased conversion rates by 120 percent when reducing the number of fields from 11 to 4. But before you reduce the number of fields included on your form, it’s important to define your objective upfront.

When the user completes your form, what outcome should it produce? Once you’ve defined this goal, you can decide what information is absolutely vital to include, what information could be collected later, and what information shouldn’t be included at all. Only include fields that directly contribute to your form’s goal; all other fields should be saved for later interactions or removed from profiles entirely.

Considering the Design Elements
While the type of information you collect certainly makes an impact, it’s also important to consider the design of your form. Here’s a few items that may boost your conversion rates:

  • Space the form with color. Change the input background, add borders or include highlighting.
  • Bring in shapes to lighten up the overall design and create contrast.
  • Add texture, such as a more visually appealing button.
  • Include illustrations. This can make users more comfortable with the form, especially if the images resonate with your target audience.
  • Focus on design elements that contribute to the user experience. For example, providing clear labels and clarity on what is required, and selecting a call-to-action that is stronger than “submit” will make an impact.

It’s also important to give enough feedback with entry validation errors that point out exactly which fields are missing. If the format is wrong, provide specific examples that include the proper format with the error message. These actions will reduce frustration and improve the user experience.

Testing and Refining
In the end, remember this: You’ll never know whether your online form is working its hardest unless you test it. Conduct A/B testing to see whether adding or removing fields makes an impact on your conversion rates. Then continue to tweak the form in pursuit of maximum performance possible.

For more information, reach out to Rise

04/03/2014 at 03:08

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