I’ll be honest- forms make me anxious. Filling them out can be super frustrating and designing test forms can be a painful task. Forms are one of those things websites need but we all wish could go away. Despite the negative feelings associated with forms, they play an essential role when it comes to users interacting with your website.

What can be done to minimize the pain and find a balance between UX (user experience)  and data collection? It starts with good design, a simple user experience and complete functionality.

Light the Path to Completion

Design your form with short, inviting  text and visual cues that provide beneficial instructions for your users. Organize related fields in groups to give the viewer the opportunity to scan and get a decent sense of how the information within the form is related. Stick to a standardized list of field items for each form you create. People are used to things being formatted a certain way across the web and tend to gloss over the labels instead of reading them through carefully. If you have something funky going on, you may not get the correct information from your prospects.

Keep it Simple 

Remember: the more functionality you add, the higher the chances the user will get lost during the information gathering process. Ask for only the necessary information. Your clients or potential customers are smart enough to know when you are asking for more than you need. Be reasonable and stay away from long and complex. A lengthy, complicated form may detour the user from filling out the first field. If they encounter an error, you may as well say your goodbyes.

Be 100% Sure it Works

Collecting information from visitors is your ultimate goal, but having the correct information is key. One of the most frustrating things as a user is taking the time to fill out a form that either doesn’t work or doesn’t provide some sort of feedback when there is an error. Hopefully your customer won’t encounter an error message, but if something should go awry, the use of informative error messages is important to be sure the user gets back on track. The last thing you want is to lose a potential customer because they can’t make it through your form.

Designing your forms to be a rewarding experience for the user is mutually beneficial. A little effort goes a long way to drive higher completion rates and better lead data.