Don’t create resistance on your website with a lengthy form

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One of the issues that website designers and programmers always face is that we have to make assumptions about what our customer’s customer is going to want to do with the website, how willing they will be to provide data and how the format of that data can be difficult to work with for them.

We have learned that when a user visits a website they know that they may be required to provide the website with some information, but they still want a little privacy. So the more information the user is required to provide, the more privacy they must be willing to give up. There is always a point where the customer is not going to be willing to provide any more information and will abandon the site. I find that some customers do not want to give you their phone number. 

It is also important to let the user know exactly what information will be asked of them. Recently, I reviewed a website that had a very pretty form that had to be filled out before viewing the products. It asked me my first and last name. I provided it and hit the little arrow. Then it asked for my email and gave me a little arrow. I was willing to provide my name, but my email? I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. Plus I noticed it said 2 of 5 at the bottom (the amount of information to put in). What other information was it going to ask? I had no idea and I wasn’t willing to provide my email to find out. I left the site without ever seeing the products or without providing 2/5ths of the information they wanted.

When designing a web form you have to ask yourself honestly, what is it that I need from the visitor to be able to complete the task they are requesting. For example, I see contact forms that ask for the customer’s address. Is it really needed to call them back or is it just nice to have? If it isn’t needed, then don’t ask for it. You can complete the transaction with most customers if you know their first name and phone number or email.

When you ask things like ‘What is the size of your project?’ or ‘How much money do you plan to spend?’, you make it seem like if the project isn’t big enough or expensive enough, it isn’t worth your time and you will not call them back. That gives you a negative image in the customer’s mind and if you don’t call right away, they assume you will never call and move on. If you are trying to weed out the visitors who could never afford your business and would waste your time, you might consider putting it in. But, avoid making it mandatory.

Don’t ask for more than you need, put on your sales hat and contact them back. Get to know them while asking all of those other questions.

For more information on web design and user interface design forms contact Marv Conn at Fisher Design:

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