Forms are deceptively simple–we’ve all filled them out online, countless times. However, behind this simple feature, there lies great potential. Here are just some of the uses online forms can be put to:
- Contact forms: A general format, simply asking for a name and email address, and including a plain text message field.
- Feedback forms: The forms seek to elicit answers to questions about a company’s products or services. When lengthened, these forms can shade into consumer surveys.
- Complaint forms: A good way to demonstrate that you listen to your customers is to include a link for complaints, provided you’ve provided other means of satisfying customer problems.
- Support query forms: A different way of handling potential complains, this simple form allows a customer to directly address an IT support team and can be highly beneficial.
- Newsletter sign-up forms: A way of explicitly soliciting leads, so that you can update them with offers and deals.
- Enquiry forms: If you run a service-based business, you can use these forms to obtain basic information from potential clients before contacting them to offer them appointments.
- Booking forms: these forms are used to schedule appointments, integrating with calendar functions and sending instant notifications to both customer and business.
Of course, this list isn’t exclusive – these are just some of the possible uses to which you can put an embedded contact form. Notice that each has a subtly different approach, and leverages a different emotional need, whether curiosity, frustration, hope or the desire to complete a long-overdue task (booking that dental appointment, for instance).
Although forms are undeniably vital and useful, there aren’t all the same. Next, we’ll look at some of the common problems that bad online forms exhibit before checking out Headlessforms’ solution.
Online forms – five common problems
- The form is too long, with too many fields. Only collect the information you need. It’s also a good policy, in terms of promoting data privacy and security, to hold the minimum data you need for the relevant purpose.
- Too many questions are mandatory. When site visitors are made to answer questions that they consider irrelevant, or are forced to write “N/A” in order to satisfy a mandatory field, this creates unnecessary frustration.
- The form wrongly validates answers. Glitches can occur when your site, for instance, doesn’t allow for numbers in a text field or requires US numerical zip codes for international customers who have postal codes containing letters.
- reCAPTCHA or other validation tools aren’t working. Although these are great tools to help prevent bots from completing your forms, they can cause untold frustration when they don’t display correctly.
- There’s no confirmation of submission. It’s important to create a page, or send an email, that confirms successful submission of your form. This helps reassure the user that they’ve completed the process correctly.
What do customers want from online forms?
Let’s look at the issue another way. What are site visitors looking for when they complete an online form? Although much will depend on the purpose of the form (ordering, commenting, complaining) there are some universal truths.
Here, in summary, is what we’ve discovered:
- Brevity is best. Customers want to provide the minimum information necessary to communicate what’s required. For a newsletter signup that’s very little, whereas for a support ticket, you’ll want a little more information. Don’t capture and store more data than you need.
- Clarity is key. Make sure your question text is as straightforward as possible. That means “first name” instead of just “name” or providing an example of date format (in the UK, for instance, it’s customary to format dates dd/mm/yyyy not mm/dd/yyyy).
- Make text fields large enough. A constant frustration is text boxes which are too small for customers to see what they have written, or to edit their responses.
- Make only the bare minimum mandatory. Users get frustrated when asked to give irrelevant information, so don’t ask for it.
- Sensibly order your questions. Start with the basics (name / gender / contact details) and then move on to more specific queries.
- Provide placeholder examples. This can significantly speed up the process of completion.
- Validate every answer where there’s a possibility of misinterpretation. Failed submissions, in which users must search for their own errors, cause frustration.
- Confirm submission and indicate timescales for a response. “We aim to respond to every enquiry within two working days” is preferable to giving no suggestion of if or when an enquiry will be answered.
Adhere to these common criteria, and you’ll create a form that’s fit for purpose, and satisfies its users.
Form construction isn’t straightforward using HTML
If you have a WordPress site, you’ll know that the form construction tools are basic at best. In addition, creating a form in HTML isn’t the easiest task in the world. Even if you create a form that displays properly, you still need an endpoint to receive, store, collate and analyze your replies.
Previously, small businesses were reliant on cumbersome plug-ins that sent responses as individual emails or stored them in a folder held on a third-party server. Data wasn’t automatically collated and required constant manual maintenance. It was too easy to miss important emails or online orders and fail to deliver adequate customer service as a result.
These are some of the problems that Headlessforms’ simple form builder was designed to solve.
To summarize, by using Headlessforms, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
- Plug and play integration, using a simple line of HTML.
- Ready responsiveness without slowing page loading.
- An intuitive form builder with drag and drop functionality.
- A fully validated range of question types and inputs.
- Responses filtered and collated in Excel documents.
- Anti-fraud and privacy measures to provide reassurance.
- The ability to make answers mandatory and validate responses.
- A range of answer formats (radio buttons, dropdowns, checklists).
- Response notifications can be set up, so you’ll know when replies arrive.
- A host of integrations with tools including Zapier and Webhooks.
- WordPress integration, and compatibility with other design platforms too.
- Easy system for granting team access, to securely share your responses.
- The ability to preview questions as you design your form, then preview the whole form prior to publication.
These innovations allow users to design forms which are fit for purpose, high-performance, intuitive, and optimized for both customer and organizational convenience.
Revolutionize form design with Headlessforms
How long should it take to design a simple contact form? At Headlessforms, we believe you should be up and running within an hour. That’s why we built an intuitive interface, with drag and drop design principles. Simply choose the items you need, customize them, order them, preview them, and publish the result.
In full, here’s the process you follow when creating a form with Headlessforms:
- Log into your Headlessforms account.
- Click on Create New Form.
- Copy the form action endpoint into your site.
- Integrate your endpoint with Zapier, Curl or Webhooks, if required.
- Click on form builder and begin dragging and dropping elements.
- Preview each element as you go, then preview the final design.
- Click Publish then visit your form page and complete test submissions.
- Visit Headlessforms’ dashboard to view responses.
- Make any necessary form amendments.
- When happy, make your webpage live.
- Receive collated, downloadable, sharable data from your customers.
It’s really that simple. Simplicity and intuitiveness should apply, we believe, both to the forms that your customers complete, and to the design process used to generate them.
That’s why we’ve minimized the necessary steps and stripped functions down to the essentials (in other words, to the functions you’ll frequently use).
Furthermore, the forms you’ll create using Headlessforms will perform, regardless of whether the user is using a state-of-the-art PC, a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. That’s an essential element of any online form – that is can be completed readily by people on the move.
Be bold and innovative with form design and use
There’s been a recent trend towards quiz-styled, pop-up questionnaires that solicit immediate responses from customers. When used sparingly these can provide unique and timely insights into an aspect of your product or service provision.
Less well-known uses for online forms include virtual suggestion boxes, instant reviews, or multiple-choice questions about potential features or upgrades.
Consider the popularity of Twitter polls in recent years. People enjoy answering simple, multiple-choice questions. Why not use this insight to create straw polls to help hone your product or service?
You can also use such polls as a subtle form of advertising. i.e.,
What do you most like about Headlessforms?
- Its intuitiveness
- Its easy integration
- Its competitive pricing
Such polls can help you understand your products’ real USPs, while subtly prompting readers to appreciate the many benefits they offer.
These are just a few of the innovative uses you can make of Headlessforms. Simply put, Headlessforms is form-building made easy.
For more ideas on how to create forms that deliver, why not check out our blog?
You can also read more about how Headlessforms’ unique form builder works here.