The Crimes of Form Design

15th June 2022

Good form design is a cornerstone of conversion optimisation.

Without good form design, you risk disrupting the overall user experience.

A well-designed form removes frustration, makes clear the next steps, provides a positive experience for the user and will help to increase conversions.

Experimentation Elite

Earlier this year, our Conversion Optimisation team headed to Experimentation Elite in London.

A celebration of CRO and experimentation, the conference provided a platform for marketers to share and expand their knowledge.

And the conference keynote – given by Craig Sullivan – got us thinking from the off. Good form design shouldn’t be difficult, so why do so many businesses get it wrong?

In his talk, Craig listed 16 ‘crimes’ that occur within form design. But, for the sake of brevity, we’ll summarise the most important and common that we see.

The Crimes of Form Design

It’s a Negotiation

The copy on forms can have a greater impact on conversions than people credit it for. If you’re hiring developers and designers, skimping on copywriters could be costing more in the long run.

Nasty Error Handling

When handling form errors, offering inline validation and feedback will result in an increase in conversions. Providing this feedback while the user is completing the form, rather than waiting until submission, can minimize friction and irritation on failed submission.

Sucky Password Rules

Password constraints and too many rules create friction in many user journeys as people are left grappling for new ideas. It is recommended here to prioritize length over complexity and avoid “negging” by offering a password strength meter.

Autocorrect & Keyboards

It is recommended that forms disable autocorrect and auto-capitalize on fields that may not have answers matching a phone dictionary, such as names. Autocorrecting answers where there is no mistake can be annoying and in some cases discriminatory.

Heartless Validation

Are you suffering from Premature Error Ejaculation? Craig identified in his presentation that “PEE problems” can frustrate and discourage site users so to prevent this, form field error validations should not appear before the user has finished their input.

The Crimes Against Conversion

It’s not just form design. There are so many crimes we see every day against Conversion Optimisation generally. And, as with form design, they’re mostly avoidable with just a little thought and planning.

The Crimes Against Conversion are often so deeply rooted that they can be hard to spot. But if you can avoid them, you will save yourself a huge amount of time, budget, and a lot of unnecessary pain.

You can read more about the Crimes Against Conversion here…


About Adapt

Digital performance marketing, analytics & consultancy for growth-minded brands.

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