Avoid these 6 Online Form Design Mistakes
Creating forms online has different constraints than designing paper forms. With paper forms, it’s best to try to fit everything on a single page, or on multiple, filled pages. With online forms, you don’t have to do that. The best workflow designer software allows greater scope for using aesthetically pleasing and brand-relevant fonts, colors, and graphics with your online forms.
Having new Workflow Software can make you feel like a little kid in a candy store, because of all the possibilities at your fingertips. But that doesn’t mean you need to use every feature every time. Know what you want your form to do and to use the features that accomplish that with maximum efficiency and minimum end-user effort. Here are six online form-creation mistakes to avoid when you put paper forms online.
1. Not Using Input Validation
Input validation means that the information to be entered must conform to a predefined style, format, or selection. If a form asks for a phone number and the user enters it as “(XXX) XXX-XXXX” format when it should be “XXX-XXX-XXXX,” the validation feature will notify the respondent of the correct format. He can correct it and move on, not worrying if the entire completed form will be rejected because of a minor error.
2. Not Clearly Indicating Which Fields Are Mandatory
Not clearly indicating that some fields are mandatory can frustrate end-users. If they know that a piece of data is required for the form to be accepted, they make their decision to continue having been fully informed about what is required. Not informing users of mandatory fields until the form is submitted can easily lead users to conclude that it’s too much trouble. This can be particularly problematic in e-commerce.
3. Misaligning Labels and Form Fields
Each field label should be located so that it clearly indicates where the user is to enter data. Does information go in the field above or in the field below the instructions? It may be confusing if you have everything equally spaced. In addition to keeping labels close to the field to which they refer, workflow designer software allows you to also place text inside the field itself. This text is automatically replaced when the user starts entering data. Informational text inside fields can be great for indicating format, such as “MM/DD/YYYY.”
4. Making All Fields the Same Size
When you’re designing a paper form, you can’t always make every blank the appropriate size and still keep everything on the page. But that’s not a problem with online forms. You can make all fields of a size that helps to indicate how much information should go in them. For example, a blank asking for an end user’s zip code can be precisely five characters wide, while a blank asking the user to leave comments should take up a block several lines long. Confusion can result when the blank for a state abbreviation is the same size as the blank for someone’s full name.
5. Confusing or Off-Putting Error Messages
People make mistakes filling out forms. The ease of correcting them is a huge factor in making online forms more efficient and less vulnerable to mistakes than paper forms. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be nice about pointing out errors. Large, red letters stating “Form submission failure!” are off-putting and don’t really help. Combined with input validation, friendly error messages (“Phone numbers cannot contain letters. Please try again.”) are less likely to frustrate users.
6. Not Acknowledging Successful Form Submission
Have you ever submitted an online form and basically been left hanging, wondering if it submitted correctly? This can be infuriating if a form contains sensitive information such as your credit card or social security number. The workflow that includes form submission should always have a step at the end where successful submission of the form is acknowledged. It can be as simple as a blank page that says “Thank you for submitting your query. Click here to return to our homepage.”
PerfectForms is an online form builder software that allows non-technical users to create beautiful, functional online forms without having to know how to program code. The online forms you create can be linked into logical workflows that step end-users through processes painlessly, and that help ensure completed forms are accurate. You can try PerfectForms for free. See for yourself how user-friendly and powerful it is for building online forms and workflows that power your business.
Tags: online forms