Designing Forms for Mobile Visitors

We’re all familiar with the efficiency of outsourced data entry.  Removing the tedious, time consuming and risky task of data entry from inside the office is just best for everyone.  However, before you start envisioning high response rates and accurate data, you should give some careful consideration to the forms you’re using.  The way a form is designed can be the difference between plentiful and accurate data, or errors, omissions and duplicates.

Forms designers, graphics designers and programmers all play an important role in the development of forms.  They are posed with the difficult task of creating forms that prompt completion, but also those that can be accurately entered when processed.  Forms must be usable and functional.  The increased trend in accessing and submitting forms via mobile device throws a curveball to designers.  Since forms viewed on a desktop don’t translate well on a smartphone, it’s driven the need for a form made especially for mobile users.  This way all the people using mobile devices to complete forms have an easy experience with the same quality interaction as if they’d viewed it on a desktop.

Here are some tips for designing a mobile-friendly, less error prone form…

Mobile forms need to be as simple and straightforward as possible. Show only fields which are absolutely required to complete the process and task, otherwise it can be distracting to the user and generate error.

Combine fields.  Simplify mobile forms by consolidating similar input fields into a single field.  This is both user-friendly and easier to process on the backend.

Take advantage of location detection devices (GPS), satellites and other compass features.  These simplify form input and auto-prompt the user based on their location.

Mobile devices are subject to slower internet connection, so it’s important to minimize multiple pages loads when possible.  When a page loads slowly it’s disruptive to the seamlessness of the form.

Focus on how you present list selections.  Drop down lists and predictive search lists are two of the best strategies to use for mobile forms.  It also depends on the number of options being given, and how many lines of content each takes up.

There are two key elements essential to mobile forms design.  First, understanding why users are accessing a mobile version of your form.  Are they in a hurry?  Are they on the go?  The second is requiring them to provide as little information as possible. Once you determine how to design to achieve these goals, it’s simple to tweak other aspects for a quality interaction.

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