Contact forms are a vital part of any online business. This typically is the first step in a long journey for customer conversation. Recently I was asked to develop a contact form from complete scratch. The rules were simple- I had to create a form that kept the user’s experience in mind while collecting only the important information. Having a background in UX and UI design, I was totally up for the task. Through this project, I noted four concepts to keep in mind when building a successful contact form. Let’s Get Started
PLAN IT OUT
Think creating the perfect form is straightforward? Well for the most part you’re correct. But still, let’s plan some things out. I recommend drawing out the process from what fields are required, the order, and what happens when the user hits submit. What does the user see after they’ve hit submit? Does the form simply say thank you or does it bring them to a thank you page? Do they receive an email confirmation and is that confirmation personalized to feel like someone sent it? Think about your ideal customer like you’re attempting to sweep them off their feet. Everyone likes to feel special. Sure your contact form probably won’t make their day however, first impressions tend to be everything. Stand out from the crowd in a smart way. I love it when a plan comes together.
KEEP IT SHORT
How many times have you clicked away from a page because the form you had to fill out wanted more information about you then your match.com account? Internet goers have an ever-shrinking attention span so asking for things such as birthdays, addresses, their preference of pet is completely out of the question if you want your form to be successful. Realistically, you want a name and an email. That’s it. Now I’m speaking generally however, your form isn’t suppose to collect a ton of information about your site goer. You want enough to say hello in a personal, professional way. Collecting a name allows you to say hello and an email address allows you to well…. send an email. I encourage you to keep it simple however, depending on your business it may be okay to have 1-2 more fields if they really matter to your lead generation efforts.
DON’T TRUST YOUR AUDIENCE
People make mistakes all the time. What a tragedy it is for someone to reach out only to provide misspelled or incomplete customer data. You need to make your form fool proof to make it possible for people to submit information to you in its entirety. A great example of this comes from the form I developed for a client during my interview process which can be found here. Notice that I alert the user every step of the way when they are inputting data. I related my form to the paradigms of the everyday traffic light. Green means “Go”, Yellow means “Slow Down”, and Red means “For the love of God Stop!”. Taking an interaction that people are already familiar with and applying it to your application is UX 101. Pencils down, heads up, one more concept!
TEST TEST TEST AND DID I MENTION…. TEST!?
Test out your contact form to make sure its working properly. Take a moment to read through any piece of text you’ve built into your form. Make sure your error message dialogue is clear and consistent. See how your form appears on PCs, Macs, difference browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari, Probably the most important aspect to test is how your form operates on mobile platforms. Make sure you form is “pinch proof” and doesn’t have your user scrolling all over the place to complete it. Post a message on your Facebook asking your friends to fill out the form and to provide you with hard feedback. Getting a comment like “Looks Good” or getting a simple like is not sufficient input.
That’s really all their is to it. Follow these steps to the letter and the form requests will come piling in. Believe me, I didn’t think forms was such a big deal until I built a good one that people were using 10x more then the out of the box one I was using.
Need any advice on your lead generation efforts? Drop me a line anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org