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Peak Usability Seminar - Increasing form completion and conversion rates

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Peak Usability Seminar - Increasing form completion and conversion rates by Lyndall Plumb - 6th October, Brisbane, Australia

Peak Usability Seminar - Increasing form completion and conversion rates by Lyndall Plumb - 6th October, Brisbane, Australia

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  • More on the last point later
  • Some usability people suggest you shouldn’t use at all as users click in error Testing we conducted indicated users liked to have them even though they often clicked them in error
  • Error messages should: be expressed in plain language (no codes, organisational jargon) precisely indicate the problem highlight the fields where there is an error e.g. red border, red icon/caution icon constructively suggest a solution such as including an example of how to input data be given to users as soon as possible – as soon as they tab to the next field if possible – can doing using JavaScript or AJAX technologies
  • Design 1 – bad A common registration process mistake This first system we tested, 14/15 users clicked on the only link available in the page log on when took them back to the home page. They didn’t read the critical message to go and check their email to get their user id and password. Users tried to click back but the organisation had disabled the back button for security reasons. Many users said they would just register again which would create duplicate records. It took the organisation 2 hours to delete 1 duplicate record. Design 2 – pretty much foolproof
  • Good visual design – key indicator of credibility - Stanford University have done web credibility studies and most people assess credibility of a site and organisation on colours and visual design of their website
  • Slowly eroded user confidence – ended up aborting and not buying the gift voucher online as intended
  • Gradually engage users rather than forcing them to register up front. Give them the choice to register for a service if it is likely to be ongoing but at the end of the process. Give them the option to buy one-off at the end of the transaction Allay their fears along the way What are you going to do with their information? What do they get if they sign up?
  • Do you really need them to register up front? Get them to give you their information as part of the process then offer them the option of saving for their next visit. Do you really need to know EVERYTHING in the form? Or is it just nice to know. Is that extra piece of information worth the risk of losing them? Do you need to know it at this stage in the process? Ask them at the end once they have already invested significant time and effort in the process. Less information asked = higher completion rate
  • Online car insurance quote – great example of progressive disclosure – see www.budgetdirect.com.au
  • The sorts of things we do for clients when conducting user research are: Speaking, survey or interview client facing staff e.g. call centre, branch staff Conduct workshops and focus groups with your customers or client facing staff Online surveys Ethnographic observational studies e.g. observing and listening to prospective customers when calling or visiting a branch to open a new account
  • You need to understand your user’s context. Every form and every user and every context is different. There is no one rule for all unfortunately. For instance: Are they frequent users filling out the form in a call centre environment 100 X a day Are they getting 3 quotes to renew their annual car insurance. Are they heavy keyboard users/tabbers or do they use a mouse a lot? Will they be trained how to use the form/application? Is it a complex or simple form?


  • 1. Increasing form completion and conversion rates Lyndall Plumb
  • 2. Common successes & mistakes VS
  • 3. Why does it matter?
    • Don’t drive your potential customers to this!
  • 4. Users selecting or entering data Form elements
  • 5. Text boxes
    • Generally easy to use but no control over what users type in
    • Provide examples to show how the data should be entered
    • Provide contextual help next to field labels
    • Use client side validation to check for common mistakes
    • Try to be flexible regarding how users enter data
  • 6. Buttons and links
    • Links should generally be used for navigation
    • Buttons should generally be used to initiate a command or action e.g. submit or save
    • Should be positioned to the right or below the functions/fields on the page for good visual flow
    • Should be positioned close to functions/fields on the page so users will see them and don’t have to scroll
    X Fold line
  • 7. Cancel / Reset buttons
    • Only use ‘clear form’, ‘cancel’ or ‘reset’ buttons if you really need to
    • Users generally like a Cancel / Reset button when entering their details
    • Users expected to see these buttons at the top right of a form or bottom left
    • Don’t put cancel/reset buttons at the bottom right of a form
    • Use grey shading or red for cancel/reset buttons
    X 
  • 8. Good Cancel / Change options
  • 9. Error recovery & prevention
  • 10. Error recovery
    • Error messages should:
    • be expressed in plain language (no codes)
    • precisely indicate the problem
    • highlight the fields where there is an error
    • constructively suggest a solution
    • be given to users as soon as possible
  • 11. Error prevention
    • Even better than good error messages is a careful design which prevents a problem from occurring in the first place
    X 
  • 12. Error prevention…
    • Allow users to type in information as they naturally would.
    • Particularly for:
      • $ amounts – allow commas, and decimals
      • Phone numbers – allow spaces, brackets and dashes, mobile numbers
      • Address – don’t split up street number and street name
    X Loan amount: e.g. 10000 
    • If you have specific requirements for data entry, make sure you provide an example of how you want the data entered and put some contextual help next to the field
  • 13. User confidence
  • 14. Would you buy insurance from this company? Why? Why not?
  • 15. Building user confidence
    • Good visual design – key indicator of credibility for users
    • Consistent branding and visual design across applications and website
  • 16. Royal Pines example 1 2 Different branding & visual design. Different URL. 4 Security certificate not issued to Royal Pines or application host Aborted 3 Have to enter personal details. Not secure.
  • 17. Building user confidence
    • Users are still concerned about security
    • Many users don’t know about https:// and the padlock icon
    • For transactional websites, include a clear security statement or image as users are concerned that their details may be “hacked”.
  • 18.
    • Provide a clear privacy statement
    • Users are very protective of their email addresses
    Building user confidence
  • 19. Don’t expect too much commitment too soon from your users… … gradually engage them and they will give up their information
  • 20. What will I get for giving you my information? I am not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something. You are just going to use my information to send me marketing stuff Why do you want to know that?
  • 21. You want to know WHAT?!
    • Do you really need them to register up front?
    • Do you really need to know EVERYTHING in the form?
    • Do you need to know it at this stage in the process?
    • Less information asked = higher completion rate
  • 22. Progressive disclosure
    • Don’t scare away users with long forms with irrelevant fields
    • Show users basic or important fields most frequently used
    • Hide fields infrequently used by the majority of users
    • Build the form with relevant fields based on data entered
    • E.g. Budget Direct Get Quote: www.budgetdirect.com.au
  • 23.  
  • 24. Forms design Some final points
  • 25. Multi page forms
    • Provide clear progress indicators.
  • 26. Speed up the process - defaults
    • Use the 80/20 rule – set defaults based on what the majority of your users are selecting
    • DO NOT pre-select responses that you wish your users would select e.g.
      • Opting in for marketing offers
      • Accepting terms and conditions
  • 27. Avoid jargon
    • Use your customers’ language
    • Don’t use acronyms
    • Provide good inline help as appropriate
    • Speak to your call centre staff
  • 28. So is this box of forms goodies going to fix all your forms problems? NO But it will help!
  • 29. So what else can you do?
  • 30. Conduct research to understand:
    • Your users
    • Their tasks
    • Their technology
    Keeps the customer involved in the design process
  • 31. Users Context, context, context
  • 32. Conduct usability testing with users
    • Find unique problems with your form or site
    • Test with representative users that reflect your real users
    • Accurate and objective assessment of your site – find out specifically where it is failing?
  • 33. The value of usability testing Our Client - a financial institution - conversion rates after testing application form & minor site changes – mid 2009 Increased online conversion from 30% to 47% in just 7 weeks by addressing some of the ‘low hanging fruit’ usability issues we identified in usability testing. Some of the bigger issues are yet to be addressed.
  • 34. In summary
    • Make it easy for users to enter data
      • Your problems SHOULD NOT be their problems!
    • Make it easy for them to recover if they make an error
    • Inspire confidence in your users through great design and quality control
    • KNOW your users – don’t just think about them…