8

In a form I have over 30 fields on a single section of an application these 30+ fields can't be broken up into two parts along with the other sections.

Long forms like this are really exhausting to users. I along with other UX designers will typically try our best to break this long form down to the essential criteria the application needs. However in this instance the form can't be shortened.

My question is how can I engage users to fill out this 30+ form without frustration ? Also please consider web, tablet & mobile when answering this question.

  • why are they filling out the form? Is there some intermediate reward potential for filling out the form? (you're 1/3 done, you've earned a smirfberry!) – Baronz Apr 11 '16 at 16:14
  • @Baronz Thanks for your comment, I have never really thought about a progress indication within a section of 30+ fields this could definitely engage the user more! My only concern would be with having an overall breadcrumb and then a secondary progress indicator for these 30+ fields would this not lead to an overload of showing to much information to the user and create confusion with overall progress? – Cathal O' Kane Apr 13 '16 at 10:46
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First, ensure that any data entered by the user is being temporarily saved. It's horrible to go to effort of filling out a long form only to have everything erased because a session timed out or you accidentally left the page.

Consider using inline validation and perhaps encouraging statements. They shouldn't be patronizing or too chummy. But showing a percentage progress and something sympathetic like, "We realize this form is long and appreciate your patience in completing it. You're over half way done." might ease the pain.

As much as you can, still attempt to visually separate and group related elements within the form. There's always a way - whether it's a few more pixels of space or a subtle variation in color in alternating sections. Be especially attentive to alignment and field length. All forms should be well designed. This goes double for monolithic versions.

You mentioned mobile and that means small screens. If you are using validation it's good to mention near the bottom specific issues. Otherwise the user has to hunt through the form or may be frustrated when there's no indication why the form won't submit. This just gets worse when you can't see the entire form at once.

  • two thumbs up for "you're half-way done"! – Baronz Apr 11 '16 at 16:13
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Some recomendations on getting the higher conversion rate with the long forms:

  1. Make the labels clear for users. Dont't make them think (a lot), work on the language and tone
  2. Group the fields in a logical way. So the users
    a) focus on some aspect (Address, Contacts, etc.),
    b) have a rest after filling some set of fields,
    c) enjoy when some part of work is accomplished
  3. Place easiest fields first, if it doesn't break the logic. Easiest fields allow to start filling the form easilly. This is an "investment effect": having some work done, the probability of continuation is increasing
  4. Use smart defaults to minimize user input
  5. Prefer selections over input (if possible) to minimize user's input
  6. Use progress indicator, especially on mobile, as the real estate is limited. This allows to set users' expectations. On desktop it's more obvious
  7. Be honest, and warn users on how much time (roughly) it takes to fill the form

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