User experience (UX) is important in every part of your website including your web forms. It is the extent to which your forms are accessible, convenient and easy to use. Online forms with great user experience allow your visitors to easily work through because they are professionally designed and simple to understand. Your number of conversions are likely to increase when your form has all the features that promote better user experience. Trust me, nothing hinders your conversion more than a poorly designed form!

For this reason, getting your form’s UX right is essential for your business. Readable fonts, flashing colors, and an elegant field can make people consider giving you their information. Now that you have understood the point of having forms that are user-friendly, let’s discuss five key design principles that will attract your users and get you the answers that you need.

1. Keep it short with a single column

One of the most asked question regarding form design is whether they should be long or short.  Well, for better user experience, the answer is short! Please make it as short as possible. There are a number of benefits that come with making your forms short. For instance, they are less intimidating, there is less scrolling and can be completed easily on a mobile phone. Do you like filling out long forms? I bet you don’t. Getting rid of unnecessary fields might be time-consuming, but it is worth it because it increases your conversion rates in the long run.

The same thing applies to the number of columns in your form. As I have stated earlier, the main idea behind a successful UX is the ease of use. Placing all your form fields in a single column allows your visitors to see all the necessary fields and flow through your form naturally, with ease, should they choose to work on your form.

2. Use mobile-Friendly designs

Why is it important that your web form design is mobile-friendly today? Considering the fact that most people use smartphones or tablets when browsing sites, purchasing items and signing up for new accounts, it will be unfortunate for your users if your forms don’t function well via these devices. Maintaining a great UX requires a quality end-to-end experience with your users. In other words, your forms have to be consistent and support positive interaction with your website regardless of the device being used.

Based on the number of people using smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, I believe having forms designs that are not mobile-friendly will be a waste of time. Not only will it lead to a devastating loss for your business, but also register low conversions.   

3. Provide input constraints with auto-fill and auto-correct capabilities

In situations where you will require responses from your users, it is important that you provide them with parameters. Therefore, the use of input constraints will be useful as it will guide your visitors on the amount of information they are expected to provide (short answers or a paragraph response). It saves you time because you don’t have to read through responses that are several paragraphs long.

Autofill is a field that responds to common responses or attributes. They can include emails, names and phone numbers previously provided in the browser or site. On the other hand, autocorrect rectifies any form of invalid response your users may accidentally enter in your form fields. For instance, in case someone gives a wrong zip code, we expect your form field to fix or recommend the right code based on the individual’s location or previous responses.

Nothing is refreshing than having these two features during the form’s completion process. Other than ensuring all the information provided is valid, it also saves your time. It enhances your form’s user experience by streamlining the entire form completion process.

4. Provide clear and obvious action buttons with logical sequencing

Your users or visitors will rely heavily on the action button when navigating through your multi-step form or when submitting the form once it is complete.  Action buttons are essential parts of your web page. It is important that you make them bright, bold and obvious as possible. Did you know that obvious and clear action buttons are universally recognized as a way to submit information on a form? Well, this is because they are easy to see which limits confusion and improve the form’s accessibility.

Also, remember to stick to the standard sequences such as date formats based on the region or cultural practices of your target audience. For example, Europe, Japan, and the US not only have different ways of displaying dates but also have different cultures.

5. Add inline error messages while distinguishing the optional and required field

The primary objective of an inline error message is to alert the users that an action or important information is required to complete a task. Usually, an inline message contains a title, icon, and a message. Now that you know what is an inline error message, I bet you can guess how it looks and how issues are highlighted based on the filed in which they are located. Some forms go to the extent of including a short and clear statement explaining how the users can make the necessary corrections. How does inline error messages improve your form’s user experience? It makes it easier for your visitors to correct errors making your forms feels professional and thoughtful.

When it comes to distinguishing between optional and required field, I would advise you to avoid using asterisk symbol (*) in your form. It is simple, if you do not need certain information (Optional), don’t ask for it. However, for marketing reasons where you may want to collect more data than what you need, just ask for the information later.

Wrap Up

Making your forms usable and improving user experience does not require much time and effort. In fact, you only have to ensure that there is a positive interaction between your forms and your site visitors. By taking these user experience guidelines and examples into consideration, you will improve your form’s UX and keep attracting visitors to conduct business with you. Use these guidelines and examples to inspire your own form design that suits your site best. Great user experience will boost your conversions and make a good, lasting impression on your users.

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