Hit Refresh On Your Thinking: Best Practices For Website Forms

The online form… such a small but very important piece to your dealership’s website. Form submissions are full of essential data that can help convert a lead into a customer, but if not designed and implemented correctly, submission numbers can drop.

There are a few main points to pay attention to when creating a form for your dealership site. We have detailed below the best practices when it comes to website forms.

Keep It Short And Sweet

According to Google, 97% of consumers will abandon a mobile site if there are too many form fields. For every field in a form, you are slowing down a user’s experience. This does not agree with consumers since most people today expect things instantly. Cut down on the number of fields you use in your forms, and stick to asking only the important and necessary questions. For each form field or question you remove from your form, you increase your conversion rate.

Eliminate unnecessary fields that can be:

  • Found in some other way
  • Collected at a later date
  • Or, are simply unimportant

Necessary fields to include:

  • First & Last Name
  • Email
  • Phone Number

Sometimes it makes sense to include a field where the consumer can tell you specifically what they are looking for, but make this field optional in case they don’t want to take the time to fill that question out.

Present Form Fields Simply, Logical and Orderly

You want to ensure that your website’s forms are easy and efficient to fill out. If you have columns and labels all over the place and your sequence makes no sense, people are going to get confused or frustrated and give up on filling out the form.

When it comes to labeling your fields, it’s best to keep the labels close to the actual field they describe. For mobile, it works best if labels are placed above the field and for desktop next to the field. By keeping your labels close to their fields, it will ensure that users enter the correct information in the correct field.

Your forms should be formatted in a single column layout to help with the vertical momentum of moving down the form. If your form is more than one column, you are requiring users to constantly visually reorient which can become tedious and annoying. There are some exceptions to this rule with shorter related fields such as City, State and Zip Code. These can be presented on the same row without disrupting the flow of a single column.

Finally, it is best to keep standard sequencing on your website forms for fields and value choices. Examples of this are credit card information (credit card number, expiration date, security code) or checking shipping options (standard, 2-day, 1-day). You want to make sure to list first the most common values or the field that is most logical. This will help with the ease and usability of your form. **NOTE – make sure to test the tab-key navigation so that it follows the correct sequence.**

Optional vs. Required Fields

It is very important to distinguish required form fields from optional ones. First, you should limit the number of optional fields that you use. If they are optional, they are obviously not that important anyway. Also, make sure it is noted if a field only requires certain subsets of users to fill it out.

Labeling your fields optional and required also may help increase your number of form submissions. If a user looks at a form and sees a bunch of extra information that they don’t want to fill out, but they think is necessary, they might skip the form completely. But if they clearly see that only some of the crucial information is required and they have the option to not provide other information, there is a better chance they will fill out the form.

Say No To Reset And Clear Buttons

Imagine you have just finished filling out a contact form on a website, and you click what you thought was the submit button and all of sudden all the information you just entered is gone. You’ve hit the reset button.

If this happens to one of the users on your website, they might get frustrated and decide to forget the form. So, a best practice is to completely eliminate the problem and don’t use reset or clear buttons.

Online forms are going to continue to be an important asset on your website and probably even more as the car buying process becomes more online, so evaluating the effectiveness and functionality of your current website forms is crucial. The practices above are only a few ways to improve your online forms, if you are looking for more information or need help with your website forms, contact us at jennifer@DOM360.com

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