6 mistakes in website form design you should never make

creating online application forms

UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) play an important role in conversion-friendly web design. UI makes your website beautiful and UX focuses on the usability and user experience of the website. If either of these two elements is missing or not balanced, customers will be bounced. Website Form Design is the part of web design that ensures seamless lead generation and information capture with proper user satisfaction on a website. In this blog, we will mainly focus on UX as UI is very subjective and defined by your company’s branding guidelines or your choice of colors, banners, and fonts.

We use different forms on our websites for almost every part. From feedback forms to the checkout page everything has its purpose and if they are not designed for what they are meant for, they will not serve their purpose.

In this post, I will explain 6 such mistakes in a website form design that you should never commit if you want to avoid bounce-backs and the worst user experience on your website.

1. Request too much information from the user

“40% of users abandon a website whose loading time is more than 3-seconds.”-Kissmetrics. This is when the website slows down from 1 sec, imagine what the reaction would be if your website wastes much more time by asking for unnecessary details to fill the forms.

So don’t waste your time and conversion by asking for “not so important” information. Please note that there is a distinction between “unnecessary” information and “not so important” information.

Information like “ethnicity” or “birthplace” of the person may be considered unnecessary for an e-commerce website, but maybe important for a political party’s website. So this is also debatable and subjective, but I think you get the idea.

‘Not so important’ fields can be:

  • Additional email ID
  • Additional phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Fax number
  • Security question and answer
  • Social security number, etc.

Even if you need these details, it is not necessary to ask all at once, you can always give the user an option to update their profile. Think like Linkedin or Facebook, they don’t ask everything at once, but you get first with as little as 3–5 fields and then give an option to update your profile later.

It’s all about presentation, so you should only ask for the most important details you need: If you are using the feedback form, ask for their views and comments before asking for their name or email ID. Similarly, if it’s a checkout form and you already have certain information about the user, don’t ask for it again, leave it filled in on the form. For example, you can pre-populate the information in the billing address to automatically populate the delivery address form if both addresses are the same.

2. Ambiguous or non-responsive label positioning.

Labels are used in web page forms to make it easier for the user to fill in the required information. Therefore, make sure that the labels are placed in a correct position that does not confuse the user about what to fill. Proper label alignment is essentially required when you are designing a Responsive form that corresponds to different screen sizes. Make sure that the labels are correctly aligned on all screen sizes on which the form opens.

online registration form builder
doctor appointment form template

Users on mobile devices use zoom to clearly see the labels on the forms so that they contain the correct information. However, as shown in the image above, if you keep the same orientation on both desktop and mobile versions of the form, all the labels will be hidden when you click on the form in zoom mode. It will force the user to zoom out the form every time they move to the next item.

A better option for handling would be to use two different orientations in the desktop and mobile versions of the form. Align the labels to the top on mobile versions and keep them right-aligned on desktop.

3. Replacing labels with placeholders

In HTML 5, placeholders in the text attribute were a valuable addition. They are effectively used to give a brief indication of an expected value in the field.

Usually, a placeholder remains visible until the user clicks in the field. Once the user clicks in the field to enter something, the placeholder disappears. The use of placeholders in website form design is heavily confused with that of labels. Many designers use these placeholders instead of labels to describe the input fields, hoping to get a cleaner design. This is a big mistake that affects usability.

Consider a situation where the user is filling out a long-form like a checkout form. After filling the form, he wants to check the details before submitting the form. Well, if there is no label in the form, he just gets confused about the details he has filled in.

So, always use a label. Not using labels is a space saver, but you’ll be surprised to know how easily people forget what the label was once they fill in the information in the box.

4. Too little spacing and distorted layout

Another big mistake we make when designing website forms is placing too many elements on a page. More are the number of elements on a single page more is the competition among them to attract attention.

The solution is to leave a breathing space between the elements by keeping white spaces. A proper flow for your users will be provided only if you keep enough space between the fields and the different sections.

5. Unsafe error messages and input validations.

When filling out website forms, there is a possibility that users make mistakes due to which the form is not submitted. Errors can occur when an entry is missing or incorrect information is entered. To process this website, designers use input validations that display the error message(s) when the form is submitted. They use server-side validations, which generally wait for the server’s response to check for errors in the form. This is a major error that can even frustrate the user if an error message is displayed after the form is submitted.

Instead, you can use inline validation on the user page, which reports on the spot if the user fills in an incorrect entry in a field. This way, users won’t miss if they’ve entered something wrong in a field.

Also, do not use confusing statements in the validation messages. Simply explain why the entry is incorrect by describing what the correct entry would look like.

6. Use captchas that are not intended for humans.

Captchas are used by websites to prevent spam attacks by distinguishing a bot from humans. It is assumed that these captchas pose a challenge that is easy for humans, while bots cannot pass them. In spam prevention, designers sometimes get so desperate that they integrate the captchas that are challenging even for humans.

online job application forms

I understand that preventing spam is important, but captcha can be confusing and challenging for users to decode. You can use an alternative solution of the so-called Google re-Captcha, which is an advanced and simple version. The new Google re-Captcha simply asks the user to click in a checkbox and the verification is done without typing a difficult text to recognize.

application forms for jobs

Conclusion

Improving the user experience is a continuous process that can only be achieved with regular updates using the best methods available. I hope outlining these design mistakes will help you achieve this improvement by not committing these mistakes on any of the online forms you use on your website.

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