What is Form Optimization for Conversion?
Form optimization for conversion is the process of optimizing different form elements to influence users to become conversions. There are many different types of forms that websites use to turn visitors into subscribers, leads, or customers. There is no perfect formula as these forms can be very different depending on their goal, style, and what information the user is being asked to provide.
However, there are a lot of general rules that can be implemented in common, specific situations that will lead to better conversion rates and a better user experience.
Form Elements to Optimize
Labels and Placeholders
Labels are text that lets the visitor know what information needs to provided in that field.
Placeholders are text within a field that act like labels or offer examples of the information that's supposed to be given in the field. They typically disappear when a user clicks on that field.
Placeholders are good to use together with labels, as they reinforce the chance that users won't misunderstand what is suppose to go in that field. However, they should not replace labels as a whole.
Disadvantages of Using only Placeholders Instead of Labels
Using placeholders as labels is common in many forms; however, there are a few disadvantages when only using placeholders instead of labels:
- Disappear - placeholders disappear when a user clicks into the field, thus if a user forgets what information is suppose to go into that field, they have to click out and re-enter the field for it to reappear.
- Impaired users -They're difficult for users with visual impairments. The light gray text can make it difficult to see and thus the form would be extremely difficult to complete without any assistance for such users.
- Confusion - some users may think the fields are already filled in with the examples.
- HTML says not to - HTML specifications state that placeholders should be used as helpers and not as an alternative to labels.
Tips to Optimize Your Labels
When using labels and placeholders together, there are a few practices that will ensure the user about what is being asked:
- Placement - labels should usually be placed to the left or in the top left corner above the field.
- Length - they should be clear and concise so users can scan the form quickly.
- Alignment - align them correctly so that there is no unnecessary spacing issues.
Field Relevancy and Spacing
The fields should reflect relevant information that is necessary for the user's account or subscription and your records.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Ask only for vital information that is needed and relevant to the call-to-action
- Ask for the phone number only if it is really necessary
- Don't ask about the demographics (age/gender/location etc.) if you can obtain is through sources like Google Analytics
- Order the fields logically and intuitively into categories
- If you have longer forms that have a lot of fields, group them into specific sections or forms on multiple pages
Keep in mind that if the forms are asking for information that users feel isn't necessary, they might not trust your website and exit the form without completing it
Calls-to-Action for Every Form
Users should know what the goal is for every form they are filling out. Don't just have the call-to-action (CTA) buttons say "Finish", "Complete", or "Enter". The buttons should describe what's being accomplished and say things like "Make Payment", "Submit Comment", "Start My Trial", or other things that describe what is being processed or accomplished.
Furthermore, each form should only have one clear call-to-action. Ensure your button's text, size, and color all stand out so there's no room for hesitation or uncertainty.
Sometimes drop-down boxes can be more attractive for users than text fields. Drop-down boxes decrease the likelihood that the user will enter the wrong information. When asking for countries or states, birthday months, days or years, and other choices with a lot of answers, users may get discouraged if they have to type in a long word. Drop-downs make the process faster by allowing users to type in the first letter and then choosing from the list of provided options. They also save room if you're tight on space; checkboxes and radio buttons can be space consuming if there a lot of options.
- No perfect formula - there are no guaranteed Form tips that will work for everyone. A/B test your forms to find the highest converting form optimization elements.
- Labels and Placeholders- use them together. Make sure they are properly aligned, not too long, and placed accordingly.
- Relevancy - only ask for information that is necessary.
- Spacing - place fields that are relevant to one another in the same vicinity.
- CTAs - use compelling CTA copy and have it be clear.
- Drop-downs - use them when applicable to ensure users don't enter the wrong information.