In this series we’ve covered a lot of the best practices around form design. As is the case with most interactions with other people in this world, there are so many options and so many things to consider to get the best result from those interactions. Where forms differ from conversations, however, is that we are separating the question portion of the interaction from the answer portion. They’re happening at different times from different locations. So the more we can anticipate friction points or possible responses to our questions ahead of time, the more likely we are to accomplish our goals, whatever they may be.
To recap: better forms start with empathy and consideration towards the humans who will be filling these out. Then when creating the fields, better forms benefit when you are clear with what you need, validate fields that have limited response types, and mark your input fields with labels, keys, and descriptions. Finally, they rely on the appropriate level of privacy and security of the results relative to the information you gather.
Consider the user’s true end goals. They are not trying to contact you. They want to get information that they need in order to complete their task. Keep it simple and question everything! Do you really need that information and do you need it now? Finally, make a plan. Think about it holistically, as part of the user’s journey. The Webform is just one place where they’re interacting with you, your agency, and your website.
And so where does this leave us?
This is for both existing forms that you have on your website, and also maybe some new ones.
Take a look at what forms you have now. You probably have a contact form. Maybe you have some registration forms. Maybe you have forms to collect specific type of information, like feedback on something or complaints. Take a look at these and see if it's following these best practices.
And then also, maybe consider other opportunities. Do you have complex processes that your users might benefit from being guided through?
Whenever you have questions about Webforms, feel free to open a support request and we will get back with you. Anything — especially that is maybe more complicated technically — you saw earlier that we just got a PDF from DHS and we worked with that to help them create this Webform for an interactive process for their users. So definitely use us as your resource. We are happy to help and make your job easier and make the user's experience as good as possible.