In this digital era, online forms have become extremely necessary because they help organizations and business owners to implement secure and reliable solutions to collect crucial data consistently. With the best form builders, such as what we offer here at Powr.io, you’ll develop responsive forms to help you capture and store data quickly and safely.
But even as you develop your online forms, there are important form usability guidelines you should keep in mind. These guidelines are designed to ensure that your website users can successfully complete your forms. In this article, you’ll learn more about online forms usability guidelines and how to make your website convert better.
Important Online Form Usability Guidelines
Many factors determine the design solutions for different online forms. Some of these factors include the length of the form, information being collected, and the context of use. For instance, if you are creating a form for your contact page, make sure it matches other elements of the page. So, the first question you need to ask yourself is, what should a contact page look like? Once you have a clear picture of your contact page, you’ll be able to create the correct form.
Sometimes the implementation of online forms varies with the circumstances, but that doesn’t allow you to ignore the guidelines. Here are the established usability guidelines for online forms.
Make It Short
When you are designing your online form, take your time to eliminate all the unnecessary fields and content so that it can be short and quick to fill out. Editing out the redundant fields and text takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worthwhile. For instance, it helps to reduce user effort and increase the rate of completion.
When you are editing out the unnecessary fields, make sure you remove sections that collect data that can be obtained through other ways, collected later, or that can be simply left out without affecting the context and intended results.
Put Related Fields and Tags in the Same Group
Make sure that all tags are close to the fields they represent. For mobile devices and shorter desktop forms, you should place the tags immediately above the field, while the tags for long desktop forms should be placed next to the fields. However, you should avoid unclear spacing because they’ll leave the tags equidistant from numerous fields.
Also, include the tag attributes for screen readers. In a situation where a single online form tests two distinct topics, divide the form into two different sets of fields and label the groups for the screen readers.
Apply Logical Sequencing
Always stick to logical sequencing for fields (credit card numbers, security codes, and expiration dates) and value choices (standard shipping, one-day shipping, and two-day shipping). Also, consider the frequency of usage for field values, and remember to list the most prevailing values first if possible. It’s important to test the usability of the Tab-key navigation to ensure that keyboard users won’t have a problem following the right field sequence.
Use a Single-Column Layout
When you are presenting multiple fields, use a single-column layout because several columns will disturb the straight-down momentum. It will force the reader to reorient themselves visually. A single column with separate rows for every field, on the other hand, allows the reader to retain the flow.
Stay Away from Placeholder Text
Although placeholder text helps to eliminate visual clutter, it can result in numerous usability problems. So, you should avoid it.
Fields Should Match the Size and Type of Input
Don’t use a dropdown menu in places where there are only two or three options. Instead, use radio buttons. Also, make sure your text fields are the same size as the input. If the sizes are different, your form will be highly susceptible to errors because users can’t clearly see their full entries.
Lastly, make sure that your online form preserves erroneous inputs and accompanies them with specific explanations of the errors so that users can correct them. It’s important to comply with these guidelines because they’ll make your work easy and more effective.