The primary goal of anyone filling out your form is to complete it. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish their goal. Follow these simple best practices to illuminate the path to completion and help your users accomplish their goal.
Use Clear Scan Lines
This is an often overlooked aspect of form design but one that can help increase completion rates. So what are "Scan lines"? Scan lines are the visual arrangement of elements on your form and how the human eye interacts with them when scanning the page. A single clear scan line can help users process the questions your form is asking and increase completion rates by keeping people on task. The less zigzagging eye movements required, the easier it is to scan and complete the form.
Primary & Secondary Actions
Your clear scan lines should run right down the page and end in your forms primary action. What is the forms primary action you ask? Well, it to submit the form of course! And the submit button on your form is arguably the most important element on your form. It should have the most visual weight and should garner the user's attention. The submit action is your primary action, everything else is secondary. Make your forms primary action a different color than any secondary actions (like cancel, reset or save & finish later). Make it stand out and make it the last item in your form's clear scan lines.
Here's another important thing to consider. Which should come first, the submit button or the reset button. Logiforms has standardized on providing the submit button first and then the reset button. Why? This is the standard on windows operating systems and the logical choice for a primary action for users that read from left to right. It's the first option, the one you want users to click and arranging it on the left allows it to anchor your clear scan lines and provides consistency with the world's most used operating systems.
Keeping in mind our goal of illuminating the path to completion and guiding the user through to completion, we need to be sure to minimize distractions. Audit your form and all of the elements on the page. If the elements (graphics, text, navigation elements) don't aid in illuminating the path to completion, you should consider removing them from the form. Consider the Amazon.com checkout process; it's devoid of all the header elements, navigation bars and offers. Amazon wisely minimizes distractions, helping to keep users on task and limiting form abandoment. Consider how you can do the same with your forms. One option is to launch your form in a pop up window with only the form or use a page on your site with minimal distractions.
Illuminate the path to completion by providing clear scan lines, a big and loud primary action and minimizing distractions. By doing so you keep your users on track and focused. You help them accomplish their goal and it's a win-win. Use these powerful tips to cut down on form abandonment and jack up your completion rates.