Nowadays there are lots of different types of online forms, in many different shapes and sizes. Each is unique in its own way, and the best are very often tailor-made based on their purpose.
If you’re looking for universal tips that you can use to improve all types of online forms however, there are a few that you should know about:
- Create forms that are as short as possible
Shorter forms are easier to fill out, which tends to attract more responders. That is why as a rule you should always try to make your online forms as short as possible, and only include fields that are essential.
In that spirit you should also avoid ‘splitting’ fields to make them more specific. While it can help segment data more effectively, it will lengthen your forms.
- Make sure forms are mobile-friendly
Every online form created nowadays should be mobile-friendly, simply because over half of online traffic consists mobile device users. In particular your form should use responsive design so that its structure can adapt to various screen sizes.
Ideally you should test how your form looks on various screen sizes using tools such as Screenfly to see how well its responsive design works.
- Design forms in a single-column
If there’s one hard and fast rule about the actual design of your online forms it is that it should be structured in a single column. In part this will help make it more mobile-friendly, but more importantly it will be less confusing and users will be able to fill it out faster.
As far as possible you should use the single-column rule for labels as well, and place them above each field rather than beside them.
- Optimize the error messages
All error messages that your form generates should be descriptive and useful. Instead of generic messages, your errors should clearly identify the problem and suggest how users can solve it.
That additional bit of guidance in your error messages can make a world of difference. Without it many responders may give up after they encounter their first error, whereas with it they are more likely to try to fix the problem.
Although you normally need to be able to write code to create and optimize online forms, nowadays there are easier alternatives. For example you could try AidaForm, and follow the steps at https://aidaform.com/how-to-create-a-form-in-html.html.
Regardless of the method that you use or the type of form that you create, the tips listed above should help you to improve your forms and make them more effective. Be sure to try them out the next time you create an online form, and observe the impact they can have for yourself.