6 Simple Ways to Make Web Forms More Usable

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Nearly everyone has a web form nowadays, even if it’s just the contact form. However, not all web forms are created equal, and your web form could be doing you more harm than good. If your call to action and your landing page are following best practices, but can’t figure out why people aren’t filling out the form, then the form could be the problem. Here are six simple ways to make your web forms more usable, and get them filled in more often.

  1. Keep Them Short – For most forms, all you need are three fields: name, email, and a comment box. Web visitors like short forms. They take less time to fill out (duh!). They seem like less of a commitment on the part of the visitor. Granted, web forms need to be longer for offers like a free demo or a free consultation, but those are the exceptions. For most offers and web forms, the shorter the better.
  2. Change the “Submit” Text – Instead of “Submit” as the text on the web form’s submit button, have the text say something actionable and something that illustrates on what the visitor is getting once the form is filled out. Good examples include “Download,” “Preview”, or “Schedule.” You want to remind the web visitor that he or she will get something in return for filling out the form, and isn’t just giving away information to get spammed. Go one step further and say, “Schedule Consultation,” or “Download Free Ebook.”
  3. Clearly Indicate Required Fields – Most web form software have that little asterisk on some sort of default, so check to make sure that it’s obvious which fields are required, and that those aren’t required aren’t accidentally marked. If the phone number field is marked as required when it’s not supposed to be, that might be scaring a few people away from the offer. If possible, place the word ‘required’ next to the field label, as its easier to see than the asterisk.
  4. Remove the Distractions – Get rid of the navigation menu, as well as the “Cancel” button. It’s all just distracting. You want these web visitors to focus on the offer, and to fill out the form. The “Cancel” button will draw people away (it also screams that your form is really long), as will the navigation menu by giving the web visitor other options. If a visitor is at your form, interested in your offer, you want that offer and that web form to be the only options for the visitor.
  5. Use Ample Field Sizes – It doesn’t help anyone if the entire email doesn’t even fit in the email field. It not only makes it harder to fill out the form, but it’s also harder for the web visitor to know if there are any misspellings. Misspellings means misinformation for you and the possibility of losing a quality lead.
  6. Include a Privacy Message – Or at least a link to your privacy policy. People are much more resistant to giving away their information than ever before. A privacy message or a link to that message adds some trust to your form, and lets web visitors know that their not giving their information away only to be bombarded with unwanted ads and promotions.

Web forms shouldn’t be complicated. They should be easy on the web visitor, while providing good reason for that visitor to fill the form out in the first place. Follow these six simple tips and you’ll not only have more usable web forms, but more people using them in the long run.