Is your online form too long?

Wednesday, 21st November 2012

You need to get a lot of information from an enquiry| but first of all you need to get the enquiry

You need to get a lot of information from an enquiry, but first of all you need to get the enquiry, so don’t make that form too long.


Realnet have been working with a client Cambridge Language & Activity Courses (CLAC) and they know the importance of keeping a form easy to use and to the point.clac logo


CLAC provide English Language Courses to overseas students. Registration requires some in depth  information, not only for legal reasons, but also so they can provide the best service, like collecting students from the airport, ensuring correct nutrition needs are met etc.


However, what is essential is that the form is easy to complete – especially as the form may not be in the native language of the person filling it in.


Long or complicated forms can put people off as the expectation of the web is that ‘things should be easy’.


People fill in forms because they have to or because they choose to.


If someone has to fill in a form to register with a government agency for example, then the site visitor has no choice but to spend the time filling in the form as there is no alternative provider.


If someone chooses to fill in a form then it is likely they will go elsewhere if the process is too complicated.


Make a form too difficult to fill in, and it can have an adverse effect on a potential client. Imagine a form that is so long, by the time the form is completed, your session has timed out and you have lost all your data before saving the information.


When Realnet worked with CLAC, we used our experience, looking at the best ways to make the process easy for their students.


When we collaboratively looked at the information CLAC needed to obtain, we looked at it as, ‘what is the primary information needed’ and ‘what is the secondary information needed’. This way we could split the form up. We did this by making the initial form streamlined, by getting the essential information at the start.


When this form is completed, the students are sent a confirmation email. This email has a link to the next part of the form that can be completed at any stage prior to the course starting.


This has proved to be an effective way of collecting information, and yet not overwhelming people with too much, too soon.


We can happily report that feedback from CLAC’s site visitors has been very positive