Yes, there are rules about how to design web forms. And yes (we hope that it will not be a shocking eye-opener for you to learn that – wait for it!), there are also rules about how not to design web forms. These rules are often disregarded – though they are easy-to-follow and understandable even to the newcomers to the web design.
Believe it or not, a web form is what your prospective clients are going to remember just as well as the content that attracted them to your website in the first place. As you understand, the complete disregard for the common rules when creating a web form can cost much, especially in the long run. That is why we recommend you to spend the next couple of minutes analyzing what can go wrong with a web form. Once you are done with our article, make appropriate adjustments to the web forms you are using on your website!
How not to Design Web Forms: Common Mistakes of Newbies
Let us start by saying that the amount of attention you pay to a web form is directly proportional to your experience in the web design. The better web developer you are, the more thoroughly you build your web forms. Forewarned is forearmed. In practice, it means that it is very easy to assess a website by the web forms used. That is why it is better to face the reality and edit your web forms right now (if needed) than suffer from the drastic bounce rate for the next couple of years. So here we go!
Web Forms Mistakes to Avoid at Any Cost
Mistake 1. Choose the cheapest web services agency to build a web form.
No, low prices do not always equal low quality. But we all know how often they actually do. So, to avoid this mistake, you can take two roads. The first one is to search for an app that allows you to build attractive and efficient web forms.
See for yourself a case study on how the FormAssembly team worked miracles for Pets for Patriots website.
Another option is to buy a website template that already contains polished web forms. For example, all WordPress themes from TemplateMonster you can find web forms designed in accordance with the last web design tendencies. Check out how elegant a contact form, a newsletter subscription, and a search form look in this bestselling EasyJet – Multipurpose theme, could be used even as gift WordPress templates!
Mistake 2. Design a web form that contains a lot of unnecessary fields.
Fortunately, you do not see web forms like the one below a lot these days. Reminiscent of the web trends of the XX century, the web forms that contain several columns and numerous field irrelevant to your website look awkward and clumsy, don’t they?
Mistake 3. Make your clients wonder about too funky field labels.
As you can see in the example below, field labels can be full of surprises. This is a case when, for instance, a label for a field is located within a field itself. Once your customers click on a field, they may find themselves wondering about what they were supposed to put in here. Yes, you can still figure out that you were supposed to enter your first name in the highlighted field. But it is questionable whether this experience of guessing and figuring things out is what you need in a web form.
There are so many other ways to save space in a web form. So, instead of hiding labels, group your fields into categories or provide helpful error messages!
Mistake 4. Create Annoying Error Messages.
We all make mistakes. When it comes to web forms, some of the mistakes are connected with the customers being not attentive enough. But there are quite a few other mistakes that result from the quality of a web form. For instance, when a web form offers a misleading security combination of a question and an answer. For instance, in this web form, you are not allowed to use any special characters when answering a question. Sadly enough, the form itself does not inform online visitors about these limitations.
A field from a web form below reflects the same problem. It happens that in this very field the hyphenation is forbidden. Unfortunately, the error message does not give you a hint about the prohibited hyphens or dashes.
Mistake 5. Overprotect your customers.
There are several ways to displease your online audience by being overprotective. Examples of this mistake are numerous. They include cases when a web form demands an online visitor to create a username for no obvious reason. Yes, for websites that deal with sensitive data, a username can be an additional tool to protect your anonymity and/or personal information. But if a website is a blog for cooks, how high are the chances of sensitive data exposure?
Mistake 6. Misplace your web forms.
Trident is one more example of how you can mess up your website performance. The second you visit this website that sells accessories for mobiles, you will see the subscription form. The only two options to subscribe are with an email or your full name. However elegant this webform may look to its designers, the question remains whether a first-time visitor would be thrilled to subscribe to Trident. (To tell the truth, I would not).
That is why it is important to place your forms relevantly. In practice, it means that they should be located in a place where a user expects them to be located.
A webform is a unique marketing tool. If designed properly, it will function like a real bait for your online audience. If not, then it is your call, really, to make everything possible to make your web forms user-friendly. Here are the key takeaways for you to accomplish this goal:
- Choose a web forms agency wisely.
- Within a web form, ask to fill in only the information relevant to your website.
- Word your field labels and error messages carefully.
- Place your subscription forms having your online audience in mind.