Nobody enjoys filling out forms – according to Baymard Institute, shopping cart abandonment rates are over 69%. So why do we come across so many that are still such an onerous task?
With an abundance of tools that allow you to truly understand your users, combined with some basic design principles, you can transform your forms and help your customers overcome the monotony. Whether it’s a sign-up form or a complex checkout process, it should be a painless and (to a certain extent) enjoyable experience.
Best practice tips to help improve form conversion
- Order: Try to replicate how a user’s mind flows when they’re completing a task. When registering, the user would expect to enter personal details first, followed by secondary details about their preferences.
- Length: If a user is at the point of conversion, don’t let them leave because of a long form. Only capture what is necessary at that time. You can often collect further non-mission-critical details later.
- Recognition: Present users with options that allow them to recognise information, rather than having to recall details.
- Grouping: Sometimes long forms are unavoidable. When this is the case, clearly group your forms over several screens that make each section manageable for the user.
- Proximity: Keep questions and their corresponding answers close to each other for a seamless form filling experience. The same principle applies for related questions.
- Progress: Progress indicators don’t have to be big and bold. They just need to indicate where the user is, how much they have completed so far, and what’s to come. Some studies have suggested that, in certain circumstances, a progress bar could actually put users off. As with everything, it’s something to assess and test with your own form.
- Colour: It sounds simple, but the colour of your call to action could be making a difference to your conversion rates. There have been various claims made about specific colours and the impact they have on conversions. The truth is that there is no one button colour to rule them all, but changes to colour can reap rewards, so test your CTA designs.
- Label: As with colour, the label on your CTA can have a big effect on conversion. Try to avoid the boring, impersonal ‘Submit’ and use button labels that give the user a clear, descriptive understanding of the action that will take place, such as ‘Send my message’ or ‘Add to basket’.
Consider language that implies the user is gaining something, rather than having to work. For example, rather than ‘Order information’ try ‘Get information’. For bonus points, consider making the label personal to the needs of the user. Rather than ‘Sign up for Best Gym’ try ‘Sign up and find my nearest Best Gym’. As with everything, test to see what works best for your site.
- Confirmation: Give the user feedback after they’ve completed the form so they know that their submission was successful and what they can expect to happen next. This is also a great opportunity to lead them to relevant content, increasing engagement time.
- Validation: Inline validation is a great way of providing real-time feedback to the user, especially on more difficult questions.
- Distractions: Remove any distractions – you’ve almost convinced the customer to convert, and the last thing you want to do is distract them with something shiny and lose a sale.
While it might be impractical to factor every item on this list into your form design, considering a few of them can have a positive effect. You need to implement what works for your business and what works for your customers. Make sure to test, refine, and repeat in order to maximise conversions.