When it comes to websites – marketing, design, and user experience aren’t the only things that should come into your consideration. While managing a website you will have to face the fact, that there are certain types of information that your clients will have to provide to you in order to shop, participate in your events or use your services.
Forms are great for gathering all the necessary customer data on your website – especially when it comes to registration. They look pretty simple when you have to fill it yourself – but be aware: behind a simple form lies a great knowledge on how to create a form that is simple. And believe me – creating simplistic forms is not as easy as it looks like.
Luckily there are certain factors that already have been tested by others and proven to work. So here are a few designing tips that will help you create a simple and highly functional form for your website visitors and mobile app users.
The first word that should come to your mind is “minimize” which is very close to “simplify”. So minimize and simplify everything that you possibly can: especially the number of forms that will appear on your website or even on your Facebook page. And yes, you can actually create forms for Facebook as well – there are free tools like this html form generator for that.
Now let’s be fair – people really aren’t the biggest fans of forms and filling them is not their most liked part of the shopping process. Therefore, when you consider placing a form, ask yourself – is it really necessary? Are there other ways to gather the information? And does the information really need to be collected? Is it important to you? If not, you could use a poll or any other tool or plugin for the cause.
After you minimize the number of forms, minimize the typing – the more a person needs to type in, the more annoying it gets. So before you add another field to your form, really think – does it make a difference for the shopping, shipping process or marketing.
Be creative with the mobile version
One more thing that should come into your consideration when you minimize your forms is the mobile version of the form. Apps have a lot of forms as well, right? The fact that people tend to shop online with their smartphones more and more is also true. So instead of typing options that might become a tricky business on a smartphone, choose to be creative and add some swiping and tapping options. This will make the process easier, faster and less annoying for the customer – let the customers know you value their time.
Use the autofill
All the tips for designing a great form pretty much rely on simplifying everything to the maximum. To help you simplify everything even more and help the user fill the form as fast as possible – never forget the autofill options and use it everywhere as often as possible.
For example, some of the fields can be connected and related – like the address and the postcode or the card type and card number. Another way to autofill some fields is by letting the app use the location. The third way is to really think it through – maybe this user has already filled the necessary information somewhere else in the app or website?
Guide the user
Another unpleasant and annoying thing besides filling too many fields is getting lost in the form and losing your focus. Yes, it happens. And you are the one that needs to make sure your user knows at which field he or she is currently at. You can do that by using some designing elements – like a colorful frame for example. Don’t forget to color mark the next step button: guide the user through the form, from beginning to the end.
Use hints and error messages
Filling a more complex form might become a difficult task at times – and that’s the exact reason why you should always use hints for situations like this. Hints are usually shown in the field itself and disappear after they are filled, but they can also appear next to the field – it’s up to you.
Also, when possible, use error messages for incorrectly entered fields. Imagine how confusing it would be guessing over and over again – what could be wrong with the inserted option? Messages like these could inform people that a letter or number is missing, that passwords do not match etc.