Sunday, 8 April 2012

How to create a good online form

We usually get asked what the best way to create online forms is, and what to include in the forms. As these forms are used to obtain customers information for remarketing, for newsletters and updates, to sign-up for services, to request information, or to complete purchases and many other purposes.

It must be noted however, that web forms are transaction forms that must be given enough attention, due to the rising concern of customers with regards their privacy, most especially if it involves exchange of personal information, such as names, email addresses and payment details.

And although there have been numerous changes in online security nowadays in order to combat identity theft and other criminal activities associated with stolen private information - there are still those who are quite hesitant with divulging information on online forms.stack

Hence, in creating online forms, you will to need to reduce customer anxiety in order to build trust and credibility. And here are some useful tips to do it:

1. Ask only for required information – one of the common mistakes of online businesses is that they ask too much unnecessary information from their customers. This will only discourage them to go through with the transaction.

2. Avoid asking for sensitive information where possible - another common mistake is by asking sensitive information from customers or visitors. An example is asking for payment details from customers who would like to subscribe to free news and updates, so that if the customer makes purchases on the website, he/she will no longer input his/her payment details.  Unfortunately, this may seem to be a bit too risky for many.

This is because although it may sound practical for the company and its customers, it also sends out the wrong message.  Think about it: why would you require a payment details for a free news update?  So, you might want to avoid this strategy for the meantime.

3. Avoid making intimidating form - creating a form that may take quite a long time to process, like a 5 step registration, may be too tedious for customers and may even lead to them not continuing with the transaction anymore. Keep it simple as possible.

4. Deliver what you say - avoid creating doubt and uncertainty in the projection of your forms.  For example: if you have a form that offers a free coupon code on freebies, but you don’t actually have one – then this could send the wrong message.  In other words, if your promise free updates - then send free updates.

5. Handle errors efficiently - field errors and field validations should be taken care of rapidly and graciously, in order to convey the message that you are on top of things. Such as if the form is asking the user to fill out a CAPTCHA, but even after the CAPTCHA is filled out the form is not submitting, Or because the CAPTCHA was incorrect, the user needs to fill out the whole form again, this can be very annoying and also can cause the user not filling out the form.

6. Establish rapport with your customer - before directing the customer to your forms, you might want to provide them with your business background and profiles first in order to encourage them to register and continue with the process.

7. Provide a secure browser environment - this is one of the most delicate concerns among online visitors, especially if it involves the giving out of personal information. Modify and customize your browser environment to tighten security and apply multiple security tools to your page like updated versions of anti malware and antivirus software.  This will provide each client with a sense of security that will entice them to move through.

8. Inform customers of the purpose for divulging information - if your collecting information from your customers, like email addresses, names, and credit card details, then it would be good if you inform them why it is necessary to do so. Through this, it will be made clear to them that the information will be used solely for business and nothing else.

9. Provide multiple ways to confirm their membership/registration – by giving your customers multiple ways to complete their transactions, like thru phone or other media, this will send out the message that you are not running a scam operation. This will also allow them to make regular updates using other platforms and not just merely on the online arena.  Remember, more is always better.

 10. Create a simple and understandable form- create a friendly looking form to encourage customers to register. Make your forms as simple as possible so that your customers can easily understand them.

These are just some of the things that you can keep in mind when creating your online forms.  The key is to keep the form simple as possible and acquiring the information required from your visitor.

Image by Flickr


  1. For creating such application or such form/forum you have to learn about how to create them, you will need to learn the coding languages which are used to design pages on internet. Such as HTML and java script. Once you will learn this then you will be able to design any kind of form you want to place on your website or anything. It is really very easy to learn these nowadays, you can easily learn these languages online now. I took lessons online and learned HTML language in 3 days easily. Although it took me a month to master that.
    Hope this helped you

  2. A form that is too complex or asks too many questions will turn off a website visitor. If they are only thinking about doing business with you, they don't want to give you too much information off the bat. Keep it to only the most crucial questions.

  3. Nick totally agree, simple is the key