Communicating the ROI of Web Design with Web Forms

It is often hard for those needing a website to justify the costs of design. Design is often viewed as a ‘talent’ before a learned skill, and as something that we either have or we don’t, and it naturally follows that if you ‘have it’ should be able to produce it without greart expensive.

Luke Wroblewski gave an excellent presentation at the An Event Apart 2007 conference (Chicago) that helps communicate the complexity and process of design, and the value a strong design can contribute.

Luke’s presentation focuses on the web form, which is any interface that accepts user input – common examples are login/registration, enquiry, and eCommerce checkout forms. It’s clear that many businesses depend upon their customers completing these forms to generate, maintaining and convert leads, and logically follows that the quicker and easier a form is to complete, the more likely those customers will do so.

Luke presents three simple variants of webform design to demonstrate the potential impact on revenue the design of the form can have. Each form input field has a label that tells the customer what information to put in that field. Luke’s variations placed the label above the field, and to the left of the field, either left-aligned or right-aligned. His referenced studies found that customers completing forms with right-aligned labels surprisingly did so twice as quickly as those with left-aligned labels, but that quicker still were those customers completing forms with top-aligned labels.

Clearly, big differences can be made to conversion rates by assessing the quality of your web form. Luke’s presentation is available on his blog, and goes on to discuss the consideration of required/optional fields, primary/secondary actions, contextual grouping and progressive disclosure, tabbing, the path to completion, inline validation and assistance, and feedback mechanisms.

He also provides excellent example of both good and bad web forms in a very accessible presentation that will ensure you know what to expect when commissioning the design of a web form.

"Iain marries technical ability with an understanding of the project's bigger picture and the needs of its stakeholders”

Laurence Hughes
Technical Director 2FluidCreative

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