I am a big fan of clean and simple websites. I also believe that your contact forms should also be simple and easy to use. I see web forms all over the place that require too much information, or don’t have clear instructions. Today I want to look at what you can do to help create a great web form.
Now, I am a huge fan of Wufoo. A great company that provides a very easy way to create and edit your web forms. I love them so much, that I use them on just about every website I work on. So let’s take a look at what you can do to optimize your web forms.
Specifying the important fields:
Every web form has some fields that need to be filled. By specifying the important fields, you can improve the entry process for your users. In many cases, websites notify after the entire form has been entered in one ‘go’ through the entire process.
Simplest way is either by highlighting the text or by putting an asterisk (*) before the important field.
Displaying appropriate messages:
Error message indications offer a great help to in filling up a form. By providing real-time data confirmation and descriptive message indications, you can involve the user more and help them understand what is wrong and needs to be fixed or filled. A message that only reads “incomplete form” isn’t enough to tell your users where the actual mistake is and how to get it fixed. Better give an exact solution, rather than leaving ambiguity in minds.
Show the current position:
Customized CSS formatting enables a developer to highlight the current field being used by a user. By simply highlighting the position of the field being worked on, a user can easily navigate across the web page.
Show current status:
If your form spans over several pages and a user needs to enter data on multiple pages, then by simply showing the current status the user can quickly get done with the process. Many excellent websites show the ‘step number’ on top of the page, in fact, some even make use of animations to improve visibility. Now that’s interesting!
Save data from time to time:
Usually while entering data in multiple forms, partial of maybe the entire data is lost. Why? Because it isn’t saved! That moment sure is an agitating one for a user who has already filled in the information and hates the fact to go back and fill it up again. By enabling periodic saving of the data after a certain time, or even when navigating from the page, you can reduce the risk of data loss and eliminate the chance of re-entering the entire form again, freeing the user from the pain of repeating the filling process right from the scratch.
Be innovative than traditional buttons:
Similar to all the factors discussed above, it’s all about making the appearance better and involving your user, right? A button is an essential part of any web page and form, so perk up its appearance. You can do that by simply changing the text, or making it a little more interactive with innovation circling it.
Give the user an idea of what to do:
Nobody likes making wild guesses, especially when it comes to entering important data on a form. So make sure that you give the user instructions on what type of content to add. Or even better, give them an idea of what will happen once they add the information.