From basic to pro: 5 best practices for building better forms

 

Whether you’re building a lead generation form, an event registration form, a basic contact form, or a form for just about any other need, you want a user-friendly design so you can collect the most responses.

A form that’s well thought-out and well designed can have a big impact on your submission rate. Think about it like this: A great form is a lot like a conversation. You’re asking users for information, and they are providing it. Just like with conversations—at least enjoyable ones—you want to avoid frustrating the person on the other end.

But fear not, Wufoo is here to help you deliver a great experience to your users. Let’s look at some best practices for better forms.

The basics: Keep it clean, clear and simple

The last thing you want is for someone to abandon your form at first glance because it looked way too messy or intimidating. Keeping it clean and simple is key to having a user-friendly form.

Form title

Make it clear and specific so that users know exactly what the form is for. Without a clear title, users won’t know what they’re filling out and how it will be used, leading to high abandonment rates.

Field labels

Field labels are used to let users know what information to input into each field (I know, Captain Obvious reporting for duty here). Your labels should be consistently placed (above, to the left, or inside of the field) to avoid confusion about which field is associated with what label.

Did you just spray your coffee and shout, “Wait, I can put labels inside of the form field?” You sure can!

For a more modern look, or to keep your form compact, use Placeholder Text instead of Field Labels. This places the field label inside of the field itself.

Taking it up a notch: Make it look good and easy to manage

Styling

Looks matter, and adding a little style to your form can make it much more attractive to incoming users, resulting in more responses. Not only should your forms look good, but they should be consistent with the rest of your website or brand. Use the Theme Editor to change colors, fonts and style, as well as to add your logo to your forms.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit more creative, write your own CSS to customize your form design even more!

Multiple pages

For longer forms, use page breaks to minimize scrolling and make the form look a little less intimidating. You don’t want to scare off users right away by showing them dozens of fields on the page.

Pro level: Keep it relevant to each individual user

Branching and logic

Many people are willing to fill out questionnaires, forms and surveys. But if they felt like you were wasting their time unnecessarily, they might be less inclined to finish. Use branching and logic to only show the fields that matter to each user.

Let’s look at a simple example to help illustrate.

Here I have a short questionnaire (utilizing all of the best practices I’ve shared so far) that asks a simple question: “Do you prefer using Field Labels or Placeholder Text?”

If you select Field Labels, you’ll get routed to another question that asks, “Why do you prefer using Field Labels?”

However, if you select Placeholder Text, you’ll get routed to another question that asks, “Why do you prefer using Placeholder Text?”

I think you get the idea. Branching and logic is a powerful, yet incredibly easy way to keep your forms relevant. And this, will encourage more people to fill ‘em out.

There you have it, best practices for all levels of form-building mastery to help you get the most of your Wufoo forms. Do you have any best practices that you’ve found valuable? Share them with the Wufoo community in the comments!

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