mobile

Best practices for mobile forms design

Organizations across all industries have made the shift to mobile forms to improve organizational efficiency, reduce data loss, improve collaboration, and lower costs. Even paperwork-heavy industries such as the construction industry have adopted this type of digital forms in their workflow.

Here we have compiled few practices that might help you to design effective mobile forms.

Avoid overwhelming users with several input fields

Use fewer input fields in your form whenever possible. Having too many can increase user frustration, especially if they need switching between input modes.

Take into consideration mobile usability

Mobile usability isn’t just shrinking a website to fit various devices. Usability design for mobile devices is as much about the way it feels as the way it looks and behaves. Therefore, an effective mobile form design should take into consideration touch and ergonomics to make mobile experiences more enjoyable and user-friendly.

A mobile friendly design must include vertical scrolling, multi-tab forms and a single column layout.

Design mobile forms that can be filled quickly

Mobile users are more goal-oriented than desktop users. Keeping that in mind, you should avoid adding unnecessary fields in your mobile forms and automatically pre-fill values in fields.

Make field usability a priority when designing mobile forms

The usability of form fields is as important as their visibility. Since forms are usually not the users’ most favourite thing, it is essential to focus on their experience and make filling out forms as easy and user-friendly as possible. To make mobile forms easier to use ensure the accuracy of the data entered make sure that fields are placed at finger-friendly spacing to prevent misses and errors.

Create a conversational, but not overly friendly flow

Users have become accustomed to interacting with apps and mobile web sites informally, and conversational ways of interaction will become growingly common as mobile forms morph into chatbot conversations. However, conversational does not mean overly casual.

Make forms accessible

Users who have visual or cognitive impairments face greater challenges when completing mobile forms. UX designers should reduce those challenges wherever possible by following established accessibility best practices. Many of these best practices help users who are not disabled as well—for example, clear, intuitive designs and logical user flows.

Keep drop-down menus and lists to a minimum

Huge drop-down lists can be real nightmare for your users, because they will have to start scrolling inside the list and, since they hide the part of options from the screen, it creates a painful user experience and slow down overall process.  In addition to forcing users to guess how information is organized, the menu’s items can be difficult to select. That’s why the chances for error and user frustration are very high.

There are several good alternative design solutions to this issue though. A group of buttons (or in our case, the segmented control) can be used to display fewer than five menu items. On the other hand, an auto-complete box can substitute longer menus such as the country selection menu. As for date selection, your mobile forms can feature a thumb-friendly calendar overlay instead.

Don’t add a ‘reset’ or ‘clear’ button unless required

In order to make your mobile forms more usable, avoid adding a ‘Reset’ or ‘Clear’ button unless necessary. While these buttons make clearing a form faster, not many users would need such a button. You can add a ‘Cancel’ button instead and make sure to add sufficient space between the ‘Cancel’ and ‘Submit’ buttons.

Add mobile-friendly error messages

Considering another aspect of conversational forms, let’s look at error messages and form validation. Good error messages can help users to get through confusing moments, reduce user anxiety, keep users in task funnels, and increase users’ chances of successfully completing a form. Error messages must be clear, concise, and explanatory, whether on the desktop or on mobile devices.

Form input should be validated in real-time

Users dislike when they go through the process of filling out a form only to find out at submission, that they’ve made an error. The right time to inform about the success/failure of provided data is right after the user has submitted the information. Real-time inline validation immediately informs users about the correctness of provided data. This approach allows users to correct the errors they make faster without having to wait until they press the submit button to see the errors.

Mobile forms are becoming an integral part of any business. If they are poorly design, they won’t help your organization achieving their goals and users will opt out of using them. Avoiding these outcomes is easy if you adhere to the best practices explained in this post.

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DataScope is a platform which allows various industries to streamline, organize and evaluate the work of their field staffs thanks to online forms which provide real time indicators 100% adaptable to any field.

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