Be careful with what you ask for On form design

An article, posted more than 4 years ago filed in pruning, kiss, form, design, conversion, sex, lgbt, user, ux & interaction design.

Since we all seem to know that every other field in the registration form is another percentage of users failing to register*, we think of alternative ways to gather information. We gamify the user profile completeness by adding a progress bar to our user account, we present a full form after the confirmation link or we ask questions while using the application.

But there is another reason why we might not even ask all the questions. Ask the wrong questions and you may alienate your user.

It can be relatively minor things like picking your favourite colour, where the form just lets you pick one colour, while many have multiple. But it may also be more personal (or one could argue, more political): not everyone defines oneself as male or female, so why only present just these options (and do know that it isn’t particularly nice being referred to as ‘the other’ all of the time).

These issues are well discussed in this talk by Carina C Zona: Schema’s for the real world.

(*) Back to the start of this article. Keep in mind that while it is true that asking unnecessary questions will reduce conversion rates for your forms, do pay attention to the conversion rates down the line. Maybe the actual form converts better, but at the price of decreased quality. Hence don’t just cut the form short, but as the afore mentioned article actually wrote: prune

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