Lets just get it out…. Forms get in the way of what we want. To sell something… a form, to buy something… a form, to get in contact with someone… a form, to join social media… a form. Forms are the gatekeepers to a majority of the net. But as annoying as they are for users, we need them. Now keep that in mind when designing a form, be mindful that forms are basically annoying and it’s your job as a form designer to make them as pleasant as possible.
Let’s talk about Form Layout. The most questioned aspect of form layout is length. There are many long answers to this, but in short (pun intended) only include questions you MUST know the answers to in first contact. If you need 50 fields then you need 50 fields, but if you have 16 but 10 of those answers could be better sourced after the fact, like after contact is made, then it’s in your best interest to do so. Taking away questions that don’t need to be asked straight up has been know to more than double form interaction and even been known to affect conversion rates.
Multiple page forms versus all on 1 page; A good way to some this up is if there is a constant theme in the questions or queries or needed input put it all on one page, but if there is different themes to groups of questions then this would work as a multiple form.
Another way to increase form is paying attention to the perception of requirements, that is making nothing on the form ambiguous. Something as simple as identifying something that is optional, like “Company” as optional instead of relying solely on the *asterisk identifier can make a big difference to number of forms completed. Take away any confusion for the user. Confusion leads to form not being filled out.
Also be mindful of mobile devices as they are difficult to fill out forms with so unnecessary fields are a big issue here, and with the growing number of people accessing the web via mobile devices this is paramount.
In short, like this post… keep it short and concise and you’ll win over more conversions.
But if quality of conversions is the issue and not so much the number, then this is where you can get creative and make the form a little or a lot more complicated to weed out the “tire kickers”. Go over your analytic data to be sure this is justifiable.