This is a guest post by Steve Gibson, Director at Jotform.
At the core of a large percentage of websites are forms. For all the content that’s prepared, and web applications that are built, and time spent promoting, at the end of the day website owners include a form they hope users will complete. Sometimes it’s a payment form to collect money for good or services. Other times it’s a registration form for an event. Or perhaps just a contact form is all they want. Websites are often built with the intention of getting users to complete forms on it.
Unfortunately a great many users abandon forms before they press the submit button. A great many more of these are mobile users. For a variety of reasons users just don’t complete forms on mobile devices. Here are some of the more prevalent reasons mobile users leave their forms unsubmitted.
There’s no compelling reason to submit the form.
Oftentimes websites will have a newsletter signup prompt, but it won’t give the user any real or substantial reason to enter their email. Anything from the chance to win a prize, gain access to a free online book, or the promise of special news or discounts can further entice mobile users take the extra effort to sign up for a contact form. Or for payment forms, some sites offer free shipping to further encourage users to buy right then and there. If mobile users conversions are a priority, sites need to make an extra effort to give their users compelling reasons to submit their forms.
There’s no mobile specific site.
A worst case scenario is when users are presented with a desktop version of your site while viewing it on their mobile device. It often doesn’t work well together, and mobile users will more than likely abandon your forms, and site altogether. Websites that are keeping up with the times, such as The Onion, reposition items on the page nicely as the browser size changes. This is known as a responsive design, and it’s becoming increasing popular as they provide all users, both mobile, tablet, and desktop, with an attractive and functional view of your site. Building a mobile specific version of your site is essential for attracting and retaining users, especially those who may fill out your forms.
Takes too much effort.
When you’re collecting information, sometimes it can be tempting to collect everything all at once. This needs to be balanced with respecting users’ time and privacy. Mobile users are on the go, and can be easily distracted. Redundant, or superfluous questions will turn away users, especially on mobile. Favor drop-downs, radio buttons and checkboxes over manual input fields. Requesting mobile users to enter too much information will often result in receiving nothing. Increasing user conversions on mobile devices is challenging. By offering them compelling reasons to enter their data, presenting it with a mobile specific view of your website, and limiting the amount of effort needed to complete the form, you can greatly increase response rates. A final tip is to test everything. The only way to know for sure if one design is preferred to another is to test both versions, and measure the results. By catering to mobile users, and testing, businesses can gradually increase form conversions.
Steve Gibson is a Director at JotForm, an online form builder. His day-to-day duties include improving the quality of the product, support, and documentation in order to acquire new users and enhance user experience. Steve is a long time start-up enthusiast and blogger for SlapStart, software tester, project manager, and occasional bug fixer.