How Form Design Impacts the User Experience
Before we dive into the specifics of form building and optimization, it’s important to understand the “why” behind the form you’re building.
When it comes time to build your forms, you will need to know:
How long the form should be
What sort of features it should contain
What fields it should include
What it should look like
Where it should be placed on your website
Whether or not it’s converting like it should
Each type of form will have different “rules” that impact its creation.
A contact form and a product purchase form are very different, and should look, feel and act differently, for example.
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But beyond creation, forms also play a role in how users experience and relate to your business.
In their book, Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability, authors Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney believe that there are three keys that drive form submissions:
Relationship — Is the form (or the website) trustworthy?
Conversation — Is the form asking questions the user can answer?
Design — Is the form itself easy to use (clear and concise)?
Here’s how that breaks down in practical terms.
1. Forms must communicate trust
Even if you built the most functionally advanced and beautiful form on the planet, you won’t get submissions of people don’t trust it.
This means that your form design — the look, but also the questions themselves — must communicate trust.
Take a look at this example of this simple contact form: