By Deeanna Caldwell on September 11 2019 13:04:07
Many assume that making forms shorter makes them easier to complete. Though shorter forms might be cheaper to produce initially, if the reduction in content results in user confusion, the cost of resolving completion errors form fillers make as a consequence can significantly outweigh any initial savings. In general forms do need to be as short as possible, but never at the expense of clarity and usability.
Provide checklists. As users complete your form, you may well be asking them to provide supporting information or attach supplementary documents where required. Providing a checklist, often at the beginning or end of a form, helps remind users about all the things they should remember to attach, and any further steps they need to go through.
Make the form sections visually distinct by setting the section name in bigger and bolder type, and consider including a contents list on the first page or screen to help people navigate their way through the form.
Use appropriate response mechanisms. Paper forms have the disadvantage that users can miss, or simply disregard, an instruction. For example, only tick/check one box from a list of 15 or 20 options.