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Why Nobody Fills Out My Forms


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Has your web form conversion rate hit a wall? Are users not receiving confirmation e-mails, getting pestered with password or data format warnings *after* they finish entering their information, or bailing after being asked the same questions multiple ways? Find out why not enough people are filling out your web forms, and learn suggestions of A/B tests you can try to help encourage more people to interact.

Published in: Design
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Why Nobody Fills Out My Forms

  1. 1. Why Nobody Fills Out My Forms Andrew Malek @malekontheweb
  2. 2. @malekontheweb DidWe Always Care AboutWeb Form Design?
  3. 3. @malekontheweb Usability? AltaVista 2001 – courtesy InternetArchive
  4. 4. @malekontheweb Mobile devices?
  5. 5. @malekontheweb CAPTCHAs?
  6. 6. @malekontheweb So…Why Don’t People Fill Out ThoseWeb Forms Now?
  7. 7. @malekontheweb Why People Don’t Fill Out Forms? ▪ Too long ▪ Too hard to determine what must be entered ▪ Too hard to determine how to enter information –“Don’t Make MeThink!” ▪ Don’t display correctly everywhere
  8. 8. @malekontheweb Don’tTake MyWord ForThings Here… TEST,TEST,TEST!!!
  9. 9. @malekontheweb A/B Testing ▪ Calculate conversion rate percentage between control and experiment ▪ Options include: –Button colors –Form instruction wording –Number of form fields –Order of form fields
  10. 10. @malekontheweb A/B Testing Considerations ▪ Results can be skewed –Demographics –Page speed –Browser / code issues –Unexpected traffic sources ▪ Can end test too soon if results prove conclusion too early
  11. 11. @malekontheweb Testing Options – Open Source ▪ Alephbet - –JavaScript framework with Google Analytics support ▪ PlanOut - –Multiple language support - from Facebook ▪ Sixpack - –Multiple language support
  12. 12. @malekontheweb Testing Options - Services ▪ Google Analytics Content Experiments - ▪ Kissmetrics - ▪ Optimizely - ▪ Unbounce - ▪ VisualWebsite Optimizer -
  13. 13. @malekontheweb A/B Testing Resources ▪ better-testing-105386 ▪ guide-to-a-b-testing/ ▪ businesses-make-all-the-time/ ▪ ▪
  14. 14. @malekontheweb
  15. 15. @malekontheweb “People have trouble understanding required and optional signals … common practice to use a red asterisk ‘*’ … that didn’t work well enough, even in a survey of UX professionals” -
  16. 16. @malekontheweb ‘Asterisk as Required’ Issues ▪ Small asterisk can be easily overlooked ▪ Color-blind? Red asterisk may not stand out ▪ Some argue opposite - only labeling fields as optional –Users may skip all fields not marked as required – less-if-you-mark-required-fields/
  17. 17. @malekontheweb “The worst problem about Reset is that users click the button by mistake when they wanted to click Submit …all your work is gone!” “The extra choice requires extra thinking…”
  18. 18. @malekontheweb Other Issues with Reset Button ▪ “Reset”, “Clear”, etc. adds clutter ▪ If “Clear” needed, show confirmation dialog ▪ Main CTA button should stand out ▪ “Submit” not clear – use verb or phrase –“Checkout”, “Join Now!”, “Send Comment”, “Post Message”, “Download”, “Ask Question” –
  19. 19. @malekontheweb ▪ Is the SPAM block needed? ▪ Too confusing? –“What’s an integer?” ▪ Provide some white space ▪ One positive: link to get help
  20. 20. @malekontheweb
  21. 21. @malekontheweb ▪Create account button in red ▪White space for mobile?
  22. 22. @malekontheweb
  23. 23. @malekontheweb ▪Never repeat a question ▪Show or hide questions as needed – “progressive disclosure” –
  24. 24. @malekontheweb
  25. 25. @malekontheweb Why is the United States not selected? Why isn’t it the first option?
  26. 26. @malekontheweb Why are “Select One” and “-----” options? Make the label “Select a State”?
  27. 27. @malekontheweb Automate Address by IP Location ▪ ▪ ▪ Not reliable when proxy,VPN, anonymizer, etc. used
  28. 28. @malekontheweb Automate Address by Geolocation ▪ ▪ Reverse geocode lat / long to location – javascript/examples/geocoding-reverse – ▪ Requires user giving share permission ▪ Location can be faked…
  29. 29. @malekontheweb Common Form Issue – Phone Numbers ▪ What you want: –1234567890 ▪ What you get: –123-456-7890 –(123) 456-7890 –123.456.7890 –(123)-456-7890 –….etc
  30. 30. @malekontheweb
  31. 31. @malekontheweb 213 421212
  32. 32. @malekontheweb Other Split Phone Number Issues ▪ User could use “Next” and “Previous” buttons on mobile phone keyboard to switch between parts –Few did in Baymard Institute e-commerce study ▪ Split fields make users question what is required if one part of multi-part input is labeled “Required” – single-input-fields
  33. 33. @malekontheweb What Else Could Be Split? ▪ Name ▪ ZIP Code ▪ Birthdate (some debate on this one) ▪ Address (house number and street fields)
  34. 34. @malekontheweb
  35. 35. @malekontheweb ▪ Good description ▪ “Free” ▪ No SPAM guarantee ▪ No sharing information guarantee ▪ Easy to unsubscribe
  36. 36. @malekontheweb ▪Really necessary (should ask this about every field)? ▪Provide option “Not specified”? –
  37. 37. @malekontheweb Form Length and Conversions ▪ Reducing contact form from 11 to 4 fields caused 120% conversion ▪ Expedia removed one field - $12million profit ▪ Asking for age caused a 3% dip in conversions – optimization/how-to-optimize-contact-forms/ ▪ Ask only what is needed and NO MORE!
  38. 38. @malekontheweb ▪User never gets confirmation email ▪How to prevent this issue?
  39. 39. @malekontheweb Validate Email Before User Submits ▪ mailcheck.js – can suggest common domains if user misspells them – ▪ Regular expression validation – ▪ Could do MX record validation, but beware DoS –
  40. 40. @malekontheweb
  41. 41. @malekontheweb ▪Enforce strong passwords? ▪Let the user know what is “strong” during form submission
  42. 42. @malekontheweb However... ▪ “[S]trict password rules can cause an 18.75% checkout abandonment rate among existing account users as they try to sign in” –Baymard Institute – and-password-reset ▪ You’ll have to decide…
  43. 43. @malekontheweb – – –
  44. 44. @malekontheweb Can combine jquery.pwstrength.bootstrap and zxcvbn for complex strength estimator and a visual meter
  45. 45. @malekontheweb
  46. 46. @malekontheweb
  47. 47. @malekontheweb What can we learn? ▪More descriptive error messages inside the form, not just above or below ▪Test on multiple devices 
  48. 48. @malekontheweb Inline Validation is Good ▪ Can see errors at-a-glance while typing ▪ No waiting for slow form submission ▪ Error message should change as user alters field ▪ Yet 40% of “major” e-commerce sites lack this – (9/27/2016) ▪ …but can one go too far?
  49. 49. @malekontheweb Invalid email address. Invalid email address. Your email addresses do not match. Your email addresses do not match. test@examt test@example.cotest@examt This field cannot be empty. This field cannot be empty.
  50. 50. @malekontheweb Showing Error Messages Prematurely ▪ Showing errors before user fills out fields ▪ Clutters up form ▪ Confusing and distracting ▪ Users feel “scolded”, especially with messages in red text or ALL CAPS
  51. 51. @malekontheweb How Not to Show Errors Too Early ▪ Show errors after user leaves a field (JavaScript ‘blur’) ▪ Confirmation fields - show errors after user leaves both fields, and on form submit if user forgets field ▪ OK to show suggestions at first for complicated fields (password restrictions, max field length, etc.) – –
  52. 52. @malekontheweb
  53. 53. @malekontheweb Pros: Inline Placeholders as Labels ▪ Fit more fields on small mobile screens ▪ Could increase conversions? –Form appears smaller –Screen less cluttered –User might not swipe through longer form
  54. 54. @malekontheweb Cons: Inline Placeholders as Labels ▪ As user fills out form, instruction label disappears –In a study, users often “deleted their entire input just to see the label again” ▪ Inline validation shows, but label name gone – – ▪ “The opposite of helpful” – design/
  55. 55. @malekontheweb Cons(2): Inline Placeholders as Labels ▪ People might confuse placeholder text as a filled- out field and ignore it – placeholders/ ▪ Light-gray placeholder text may be hard to see –Not enough color contrast with background –Accessibility issues
  56. 56. @malekontheweb Could These Inline Placeholders Work? ▪ Some argue if yes – if very few form fields –i.e. just username and password ▪ Or – what if placeholder labels don’t completely disappear…
  57. 57. @malekontheweb “InfieldTop Aligned Form Label” ▪Label doesn’t disappear ▪Form smaller, may be easier to scan? – form-labels-are-quickest-to-scan/
  58. 58. @malekontheweb “Float Label Pattern” Last Name Last Name Jones
  59. 59. @malekontheweb Float Label Pattern ▪ Inline form label moves inside box when user selects field and starts typing – – – –
  60. 60. @malekontheweb (Vue.js)
  61. 61. @malekontheweb
  62. 62. @malekontheweb Redundant Placeholder as Label ▪ Could be useful to draw attention? – ▪ Or does it clutter the form with redundancy? ▪ Previously mentioned placeholder issues…
  63. 63. @malekontheweb Placeholder Hints with Labels ▪ Pros: –Use less screen real estate to display instructions –Guide users to desired input format ▪ (i.e. “Phone Format: nnn-nnn-nnnn”) ▪ Cons: –Previously mentioned placeholder issues…
  64. 64. @malekontheweb A Matter of Trust ▪ LinkedIn lost 167 million account credentials in data breach – email-password/ ▪ 360 million Myspace accounts breached – million-myspace-accounts-breached/85183200/ ▪ Yahoo hack: 1 billion accounts compromised – hoo-hack-security-of-one-billion-accounts-breached
  65. 65. @malekontheweb How to Increase Trust? ▪ Contact information –Phone and postal – not just email ▪ Guest checkout option ▪ No SPAM guarantees ▪ Shorter forms or progress indicators
  66. 66. @malekontheweb How to Increase Trust? ▪ Social media profiles ▪ Testimonials / reviews ▪ Trust seals – ▪ Website stability
  67. 67. @malekontheweb User Trust Studies and Resources ▪ payment-form ▪ ▪ ui-that-users-can-trust/ ▪ essential-trust-signals-for-your-website-to-follow/
  68. 68. @malekontheweb
  69. 69. @malekontheweb Test, Test, Test! ▪ Can we save users time? –Automate tasks –Inline validate the right way and not too early –Shorten forms ▪ Can we focus users on the right tasks? –Required vs. optional fields –More descriptive “Submit” / CTA button
  70. 70. @malekontheweb Test, Test, Test! ▪ Can instructions be made easier? ▪ Can redundant questions be removed? ▪ Are SPAM Blocks / CAPTCHAs not needed? ▪ Can we test on different devices?
  71. 71. @malekontheweb
  72. 72. @malekontheweb @malekontheweb