There are many factors that contribute to a better user experience on a website. Pages must load quickly for users to feel at ease and be efficient. Navigation should be clear and straightforward, with clear paths that visitors can follow when they find your contact pages, blog posts and products. Your colors should blend perfectly while providing enough contrast in the areas that need it most.
An excellent user experience should be considered for every part of your website that acts as a point of contact with a potential customer or user. One of the most significant touch points of all are the forms.
All websites need some form of interactive content to thrive. Users must be able to do something with the site, whether it’s search for information with a search bar, contact a team to request a quote, make a reservation or complete a purchase. Forms drive most of the interactive activities available on Web sites.
If you know how to master an excellent UX on a form, you can contribute to more meaningful interactions between your brand and your customers. But not all web forms are the same. Here are some of the main types of forms you need to master and how you can optimize them.
The Opt-In form
The Opt-In subscription form is probably the best known form in the digital landscape. It is essentially a form that asks visitors to “subscribe” to a specific offer. Sometimes this means signing up for a webinar; other times, you’ll accept an email newsletter or a regular series of blog updates.
Opt-in forms capture attention quickly and request something specific from the audience. Opt-in subscription forms are all about generating action.
Sometimes, they are placed at the bottom of a landing page after a company has had a chance to explain precisely what it offers. Other times, you’ll find the subscription form located in the sidebar of a website, which constantly invites people to “sign up” if they like what they see in a blog post or article.
It is also common for subscription forms to appear as pop-ups and exit pop-ups on modern websites. For example, a brightly colored subscription form that promises an immediate benefit to a customer might encourage them to submit their data before leaving your site.
How to design the best Opt-In form
- Start with simplicity: if you are asking your visitors to do something, don’t overwhelm them with a lengthy request right away. Keep the form short and simple, so it doesn’t seem like too much extra work for the visitor. Something like “Subscribe to our newsletter” shouldn’t ask for more than an email.
- Highlight the benefits: most customers will not want to give you a place in their inbox or the opportunity to interact more with them unless you can offer them something in return. Even if you’re asking for something small, like an email address, let the customer know what’s in it for them.
- Empower the visitor: let your visitor know that they are in control. They want to see that they get exactly what they need from you in exchange for their contact information.
The contact form
The contact form is another crucial part of creating an effective user experience for your website, but it’s also an element that web designers and business owners often overlook. When customers decide they want to know more about a company, they need a quick and easy way to get in touch.
Contact forms should be easy to find and use on any website. Generally, your user will expect to see a link to the contact form located somewhere at the bottom of your web page. It could be called “Contact Us” or “Customer Service”. Avoid anything that might go over the user’s head.
In addition to being easy to track, your contact form should also reassure your audience that they are making the right decision by getting in touch. Therefore, the content should be short, sweet and authoritative: highlight why the user might contact your company and how they can do so.
Avoid any unnecessary information in the contact form. For example, you don’t need to know your customer’s age and job to answer a question about where their nearest physical branch is.
How to design the best contact form
Design something personalized but simple to make the most of your contact form. Use features such as intelligent content and conditional logic, if possible, to adapt the page to the user’s needs. Dynamic content is becoming increasingly valuable these days. Other key practices include:
- Set the right expectations: let your customers know how active you are and how quickly they can expect to hear from you. The right images and fonts can also set expectations about the type of communication your audience can expect.
- Provide multiple options: if your customer does not want to use your contact form, offer them another way to communicate. Make sure the contact page includes information such as where to find you on social media and your business phone number.
- Simplify things on your end: to make sure you can reach your audience as quickly as possible, let your customers choose a specific topic to which their query is related. Allowing them to choose “Sales” or “Order Issues” means you can automatically route the message to the correct team member on the back-end.
The online payment form
Sometimes, when your customers have seen what you have to offer and have seen the competition, they decide to go ahead with their purchase. To facilitate this, you will need an online payment form. Online forms ensure that your customers can securely enter their credit or debit card details to purchase whatever you have to offer.
Most payment processing companies like PayPal, Square and Stripe come with payment forms included, so you can easily insert them into a website in minutes. However, there is always the option to customize these payment methods.
For example, ideally, you’ll need a checkout form that keeps your customer on the same page, so they don’t have to log into another browser to make their purchase. The fewer transitions your customer has to make, the more confident they will feel.
How to design the best online payment form
When designing any payment method, simplicity and security are the two most important factors. Your customer should be able to enter their information quickly and easily and complete the transaction process without worrying about their details.
- Keep it simple: the fewer fields the visitor has to fill in, the better. Customers still feel uncomfortable sharing personal information and payment details online. Make the experience as painless as possible. If your customer already has an account with your company, you can create a system that automatically fills in some of the fields, such as their email address, name and billing address.
- Offer the right integrations: the right payment methods will integrate with the payment services your customers prefer to use. Options include PayPal, Stripe, Square, Verified by Visa and Mastercard. Get a developer to integrate the appropriate APIs with your form to offer your customers the widest range of options.
- Ensures security: gives customers peace of mind by providing as much evidence of security as possible. An SSL certificate that places the padlock at the top of the browser next to the URL is a great way to make customers feel more secure. Integrating verification options so that your customers can avoid fraud issues is another important step. Sometimes, simply placing logos of the types of cards you accept on the page will make the customer feel more secure.
Some companies group the contact form and the support form together. Others have a separate support form to direct your inquiries directly to the people best able to help you. If you want to take the second route, it might be a good idea to design a “Help” section on your website where you can place the support form.
The “Help” section on a site often appears next to other links in the footer. For example, it could appear next to the “About” links and “Contact” options.
The best customer service sites come with several ways for customers to help themselves and find answers to their most pressing questions. For example, you can have a search bar where your audience can search for answers to their queries or a knowledge base full of useful blogs.
How to design the best support form
Designing a good customer service form is all about getting your audience the information they need as quickly as possible. Again, you should stick to as few form fields as possible to avoid angering an already frustrated customer. Also, remember:
- Ask for the right information: find out what the query is about by giving the customer a drop-down menu full of possible topics to choose from. If you need a product reference number or something similar, request it at the top of the form and then allow the customer to provide additional information about their inquiry below.
- Set expectations: let your customers know how long they can expect to wait for a response to their concerns and give them advice on what to do next. For example, you could invite them to consult their knowledge base while they wait for an answer.
- Keep it simple: avoid using technical jargon in your support request forms. Be direct in your requests for summaries of the subject matter, contact information and other supplementary data.
Customer feedback forms
According to Microsoft, about 96% of customers say that customer service is crucial in determining their loyalty to a specific brand. Another 52% of global customers believe that companies should respond to feedback provided by customers.
To make sure your customer service strategies are up to par with what your audience expects, you need to get feedback. That’s where a feedback form comes in. Customer feedback forms often appear after a customer has finished shopping on the “thank you” screen. They can also occur after a customer has completed an online service interaction.
How to design the best feedback form
By leaving feedback, your customer is doing you a big favor. They are giving you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve the service you can provide next time. Feedback is one of the best tools for any business that wants to grow and prosper.
If you want your customers to use your feedback forms, you should make them as simple as possible. Your customers don’t have time to waste on a complex form.
- Don’t make any field mandatory: don’t prevent your customers from submitting a form unless they have completed all the fields. Allow them to enter the information they consider most important and that’s it. You can even complete part of the form for your customer, if possible, by entering their name and email address if they are already a member of your site.
- Make it adaptable to mobile devices: remember that there are around 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide. You can’t afford to lose comments because your form is not responding. Each form should look and feel amazing on any device.
- Include a rating option: if your customers don’t have much to say about your service, or are not wordsmiths, they may prefer a rating option. A one-to-five rating system that allows your customer to judge your product or service on a scale of poor to wonderful is a great way to get quick feedback.
The better your forms are, the more effective your interactions with customers will be. Remember, it’s not just face-to-face interactions that your customers judge when making decisions about your business and whether they trust you. Today’s digital world has led to a new demand for more meaningful virtual experiences.
Your form could be the first interaction you have with a customer, whether it’s a contact form, a booking form or something completely different. Get it right and you can improve your chances of your customers coming back to interact with you later. If you prefer to leave this task to third parties, at Acorn we are experts in web development and our professionals will be happy to help you. Shall we talk?