Set proper expectationsusing clear, obvious, concise language.Login is not clear. What is the login, a user name, account number, email address?What is a “passcode”, According to dictionary.com, it’s a password. So why not write “password”.
Error messages should inform the user Where the error happened, What the error was, and How to correct it.This error informs me that my “Login” information is incorrect. In the form they use “Login” as the title of a field. Therefore it indicates that you entered the incorrect login username.It’s not clear where the error happened, or what the user needs to do to fix it. Let’s assume you are guessing at your login with a common username you use, so you click the “What is my Login” link.After reading carefully, we see that our Login is our “Email address” or “member ID”. Why wasn’t this simply stated on the login form? So you decide to try your email address. And you get the same exact error.So you try Forgot Passcode, thinking maybe you can simply reset everything here. Now you are again asked for your Login, as well as your email. Considering your Login may be your email, they are essentially asking for the same thing twice in different ways. So, even though you are unsure of your credentials, you give it a shot. And when you click continue you get this helpful error…And you are no closer to logging in then you were in the beginning.
Focus on the point. Provide users with a clear call to action and next steps.Here we have the Comcast login. This form has many of the same issues as the Citibank form such as a generic error message an unclear login instructions.However, this form is also very cluttered. This makes it harder to scan, and easier to click the wrong thing.“If you’ve already registered with comcast.com simply sign in” This is completely unnecessary, redundant and only adds clutter to the form. The main title “Sign In To Comcast.com” has already done this job.The not registered are is squished right up below the main login form. This should be visually separated to help distinguish the two possible actions. There is also way to much text here, that is unnecessary and only gets in the way.The error message isn’t given a high enough priority and within the context of the full webpage can be missed.
Here is one possible way this form could be redesigned. We have reduced the text which has greatly simplified the form, and saved space.We have used clear concise labelsWe focused on the primary action, but provided a clear link to secondary actionWe helped the user locate the error using the field label where the error occurred in the message. We also inform the user of the problem, and set a focus on the field where the error occurred.
This is an example of a right aligned form. However this form could still be improved. According to Smashing Magazine 82% of the time it is not necessary to confirm the email and 72% of the time it’s not necessary to confirm the password.
Form Design: Best Practices to Improve Conversions
Form Design: Best Practices to Reduce Errors and Improve Conversions<br />Lauren Martin www.sitemotif.com<br />
Design Principles <br />Keep it Simple <br />Avoid unnecessary text and inputs.<br />Focused Goal<br />It should be easy to see what needs to be done to complete the form.<br />Be Clear<br />You never know the context of the user, make sure things are very clear and unambiguous.<br />Constantly Communicate<br />Inform users about what’s going on when it happens.<br />
The basics of labels, errors and layout.<br />Login Forms<br />
Clear, Obvious, Concise<br />Set proper expectations by letting the user know exactly what you are looking for. <br />
Locate, Inform, Assist<br />Error messages should inform the user Where the error happened, What the error was, and How to correct it.<br />
Clean, Focused, Apparent<br />Focus on the point. Provide users with a clear call to action and next steps.<br />
Top Aligned<br />Positives<br />Cleaner scan line, means more rapid processing and less effort<br />Label and input field are adjacent<br />Allows long labels<br />Horizontal space for grouping related fields<br />Studies show highest completion rates<br />Good for familiar data<br />Negatives<br />2x Increased vertical space.<br />
Right Aligned<br />Positives<br />Close proximity between label and input field<br />Good for varied label widths<br />2x faster to complete as left aligned labels<br />Reduced vertical space<br />Negatives<br />Left rag of labels makes scanning less efficient <br />
Left Aligned<br />Positives<br />Easy to scan labels is good for unfamiliar data<br />Reduced vertical space<br />Good for forms with sensitive data where you want users to slow down.<br />Negatives<br />Label and corresponding field are not adjacent<br />Long labels extend gaps between labels and controls causing visual “jumps”<br />
Buttons<br />56% of Submit buttons are left aligned with the form. While only 26% are right aligned and 17% centered.*<br />You do not need a cancel button. The user can navigate else where if they are not longer interested.<br />Secondary actions should be separated from the primary action. This can be done visually by making the secondary action a less prominent link.<br />The primary action should be to the left of the secondary action.<br />* Smashing Magazine: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/08/web-form-design-patterns-sign-up-forms-part-2/<br />
Forms are crucial to businesses and stand between the user and the companies product or service.<br />Improve Conversions<br />
How do you get to the form?<br />You should have a clear call to action on your homepage.<br />Use very clear links and leads. “Sign Up” is 2x more likely to catch your users eye over “Register”, “Join” and “Create Account”.<br />A signup link should be located in the top third of your page, preferably next to the login form.<br />
What’s on the form?<br />Users really do care about what your asking them.<br />For Example: Asking someone for their address is like saying, I’m going to send you stuff. If they are not ordering a product, this may immediately turn them away.<br />Context also matters. If I am just signing up for a clothing site, you should not be asking for my credit card number. If I am trying to purchase an order, then the context would be correct for purchasing information.<br />Try to keep it between 3-8 mandatory fields. Less is better.<br />
How is it organized? <br />Every form should have a name and a clear purpose<br />Always chunk information into logical groups<br />Each chunk should have a clear title summarizing the questions in that section<br />Try to avoid multi-page forms. However, if used always make it clear how many steps are involved and how far the user has gotten.<br />Use subtle visual cues like dividers to help group related content<br />Bold form labels for easier scanning.<br />
How are you helping them?<br />Provide hints and tool tips with additional information<br />Use examples of expected and allowed input<br />Use tip icons with rollovers and panels for explanations to the right of the input fields.<br />Use one line liner examples and info directly below input fields.<br />Highlight fields with errors, and display error messages in line or at the top of the screen.<br />Allow tabbing through the form and all controls.<br />
Improve your conversions.<br />Metrics should be used to measure completion rates, times, and issues.<br />Create multiple versions and do A to B testing to see which forms result in the highest conversion rates.<br />
Off Line Reading…<br />Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability<br />By: Caroline Jarrett<br />$44.95 on Amazon<br />Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks <br />By: Luke Wroblewski<br />$36 on Rosenfeld Media<br />
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