Love your online form - 3. make it mobile

Poorly optimised forms can be a real pain for users to fill in from their mobile devices. It doesn't help matters that internet connections are often unreliable and the effort and frustration involved in entering data is higher. Yet none of this stops people from using forms on their mobile.

Studies show that people using mobile devices are more focused on completing set tasks (e.g. ordering a product, paying a bill, or finding a specific piece of information) than those on desktop computers. If the task in question involves a form, then they are going to use it even if it's not been optimised for mobile. You can make things much easier for them by following some simple guidelines below.

Adjust the layout

A typical mobile screen is much smaller than a computer screen, so the first question should be: does everything on the page need to be there for mobile?

Consider removing large graphic elements and non-important information, remembering that the user is focused on the goal of filling out this form. Anything not helping that is a distraction.

By using "Responsive" design techniques, it's possible to design a form that adjusts its layout on-the-fly and reshuffles and hides elements that aren't needed. The layout "responds" appropriately to whatever device it's being viewed on.

Responsive design is considered the best practice for mobile optimisation by Google.

Add focus

It’s easy to get lost in a form when there are multiple fields to fill in, so make it’s clear which field currently has focus. This can be done through visual highlights.

The current field along with any visual cues or notes should always be visible and in focus.

Minimise input required

Reduce the amount of data people need to enter. Let's face it: it's a pain typing and people just want to get to the end of your form. The more you can cut back on what they have to enter, the higher your form completion rate will be.

Do you really need their name and title, or just their name? and perhaps you don't need to capture everything upfront – you can always ask for more later. Only ask for the information that's critical to completing the process in question.

Pre-fill where possible

Pre-filling any saved details is always appreciated if the user has an account.

You can also take advantage of modern phone technology, such as the inbuilt camera to capture input like credit cards, or the GPS to automatically detect their location.

Keep it simple

People accessing websites from their mobile device are often out of their usual environment, with a higher number of distractions going on around them. Think about the number of people using their phone on the bus, or those waiting for their partner to try on a piece of clothing.

The simpler and more focused your form can be, the faster people will be able to get through it and higher your completion rate will be.

Read more articles in this series;

Online Forms - a business game changer?

Love your online form – 1. validation design is critical

Read more articles in this series;

Online Forms - a business game changer?

Love your online form – 1. validation design is critical

Love your online form – 2. affordance is everything

Love your online form – 3. make it mobile

Love your online form – 4. user experience

Love your online form – 5. integration

Love your online form – 6. tracking

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