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I'm thinking about remaking the registration form on a site I'm working on. The form is simple, but there is too much information to be filled in. It also asks if the user has already participated, in which case some questions don't need to be filled in again.

I was thinking about using a wizard or something with tabs, but I don't know if this approach will improve the user experience or if it's better just to keep the form and adjust it to look less terrifying.

Does anyone have any other ideas to make it better?

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Can you give a concrete example? It's a bit hard to imagine what you're talking about at the moment. What specifically about the interface are you trying to improve? –  3nafish Mar 19 '13 at 17:29
    
Its a registration form. It has a lot of questions. It's big and boring and i would like to make it look better. I wanna know if a wizard form could be used here instead of a simple form or if its not a good practice in this situation. I don't know how i can explain better, sorry. xD –  Mareps Mar 19 '13 at 17:39
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

So ideally, with survey forms, what Matthias said is quite the rule of thumb. If you have many questions, just show one (or a few) at a time and display the progress bar. One more feature which I like to add on surveys is showing approximate time to completion. What you do is, at the end of each page of the survey you have a (not-so-attention-hungry) line saying about 5 more minutes and you're done. This adds an extra bit of motivation to finish.

Also, for deciding between one and multiple questions per page, you can ask yourself how long it takes an average user to answer that question and click next to move on to the next page, if the time is not more than 10-20 seconds you can probably bundle up some related questions on the same page to speed up the process for the user and also not make it seem completely monotonous.

I am having trouble visualizing the wizard with tabs idea you mentioned, can you provide a sketch or something for that?

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Example Here Its something like that. –  Mareps Mar 19 '13 at 18:13
    
So I think what we are calling pages in the form are what you are calling tabs in the wizard. Also, just to be clear, this is a one-off thing and not something that the user will be filling out quite regularly, like a bill/order or something, right? Since, if that is the case, it makes more sense to bundle up as many things in a single page as possible since you can tab-browse the entire form and fill one out pretty quickly. –  rk. Mar 19 '13 at 18:27
    
Its exactly that! What i think you guys didnt understand is if its a good practice to do that or, instead, you would prefer using the regular form. –  Mareps Mar 19 '13 at 18:40
    
Like I said, if the content makes sense to be grouped together i.e. it has some related information, or some information which does not take the user to think more than a couple seconds, then you can use those in a single page. If you can show progression in your pages like you have order, parameter and optimization; you can use those as grouping parameters for the pages. –  rk. Mar 19 '13 at 18:44
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As always, the less information a user has to provide, the happier he/she'll be!

First try to implement an automatic switch to find if the visitor has already voted. If yes, enters path A. If not, enters path B.

Then keep in mind some of these tips when asking things to users:

  1. reduce friction, let users get used to the form, don't ask too personal questions up front, think carefully about the default value of each input field. You can save them filling up a few fields this way.
  2. build up their interest by emphasizing the progress and reward/goal.
  3. have a kick-ass form validation.
  4. facilitate the navigation (go back, skip, exit, summary, etc).
  5. have analytics ready to track conversion and funnel so that you can improve it.
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Yes, breaking the form into a wizard (multiple pages with 3-7 questions each and back/next buttons) is better than throwing a long form at users. Long forms lead to cognitive overload and users will drop off the site.

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You could use just one question per page and show a simple progress bar e.g. in the upper right corner. The user could login and already answered question would never appear again. I would say it is better to show some abstract progress bar instead of saying "question 1/50". This is because it will give the user more motivation if he has a progress bar that is already on 50% percent instead of showing just numbers.

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The data that was previously send goes to a data-base in a web service. Every year the same user (which is a company) has to fill the form if wants to participate the study or research the company (from the site) does. It does not really provide an account, so they can´t login. –  Mareps Mar 19 '13 at 17:55
    
Plus, what is the difference between what you've said (just one question per page and progress bar) from the wizard one? Thanks (: –  Mareps Mar 19 '13 at 18:02
    
I think it is actually a wizzard. A from is more short to sign up for something. A wizzard is configuring something. And a survey is about to figure out how someone is thinking (actually also a configuration). –  Matthias Mar 19 '13 at 18:47
    
Regarding the login: Why not send a unique link to every customer (with a random token) instead of a sophisticated login mechanism. You just check the token and fill in the company name automatically (as read-only). –  Matthias Mar 19 '13 at 18:51
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