Feedback forms are the most under-utilized usability tool. It’s easy to see why people think “users don’t fill out forms.” They don’t. But users will answer the occasional question if you ask it the right way.
It’s common for sites that get millions of visitors a month to have just a few dozen or at most hundreds of feedback messages. A well designed form can triple that number, and probably much more.
Why paying attention to feedback form design is important
A good feedback form should feel like speaking with a person who happens to know everything about your product. A bad one feels like a random survey that was designed by someone who wants to torture you.
Because we are not accustomed to creating feedback forms, we tend to underestimate their importance. But people have become accustomed to creating websites and apps, so they expect them to work well. If your product doesn’t work well, you’ll lose users because of that, and if you also make the mistake of treating them rudely when they tell you about it, many will never come back.That’s why it’s worth paying attention to feedback form design.
Feedback form best practices: 10 tips to design forms that people will fill
Collect only what you need and let the reader know what you are going to do with their information
One of the most important things you can do to establish trust with your audience is to ensure that they know you’re going to take care of their information. You should never ask for any information that you don’t need, and if you do collect it, you should tell people exactly what you’re going to do with it.
You can include testimonials from other satisfied customers who may have had similar concerns about giving private information.
Ask users opinions, not their personal information
Often, users are not keen to register or fill out feedback forms. Instead of asking for personal information, try and ask them questions that will help you improve your product. Don’t ask for personal information unless you really need it. The more information you require, the lower the response rate will be.
Ask multiple choice questions, not open text boxes (unless necessary)
Multiple choice questions are faster for users to answer, and easier for you to analyze. They force users to choose between mutually exclusive answers, whereas open text boxes encourage people to provide disorganized free-form feedback.
Open text boxes are also more work for users. Most users won’t want to write anything in an open text box. Of the ones who do, most will leave it at “It’s great!” or “It’s terrible.” That’s not useful data. A few might write something long and thoughtful, but those situations are so rare that
Make your feedback forms mobile friendly
You’re making a mistake if you don’t make it easy for your users to give feedback from their phones.
The reason is simple: feedback is more valuable when it’s near the experience you’re measuring. The longer they have to wait, the more they forget what they wanted to tell you. And when the inconvenience of giving feedback exceeds the user’s frustration with your product, they simply won’t bother.
I’ve some more good news. Here is our comprehensive article on how to make your forms mobile-friendly
Use color to draw attention to important areas of your form, or visually separate sections so that they’re easier to read.
Color is a powerful design tool for drawing attention to your feedback form. While it’s tempting to use color as a crutch in place of other visual design techniques, it is a great way to add clarity and emphasis to key areas of your form. Here are some ways you can use color effectively:
- To draw attention to key areas of your form such as the submit button or an important disclaimer.
- To communicate error states by using red and green where appropriate.
- To visually group related information or actions, like a set of radio buttons or a comment field and its label.
Allow users to save and resume partially completed forms
Why do people abandon feedback forms? Because they’re long. And because it takes time to think of good answers to open-ended questions. And because they got distracted and now it’s 2 am and their cat is hungry and maybe they’ll just come back tomorrow and finish this thing.
Abandoned feedback forms are wasted opportunity costs for you and your company. You have a chance at getting valuable insights on how to improve the product, but if you don’t let the users save their work, those insights are lost forever.
Tell users how long the form will take to complete
At the top of the form, tell users how long it will take them to complete the form. The time estimate should be as accurate as possible. If you’re not sure how long the form takes to complete, ask your users!
Embrace whitespace while designing feedback forms
As you think about the design of your form, consider the importance of whitespace (or negative space). Whitespace is what designers call the empty space between page elements. It’s not just empty space, but an opportunity to create visual interest and focus.
Practice good usability. Have someone test the form and give you feedback
After you’ve finished the form, don’t forget to give it to someone else to test. If you’re not sure who, try asking on Twitter or Facebook. Make sure you get feedback from someone who is not a programmer (they will tend to put too much faith in technology) and not your mother (who will tend to put too little).
If possible, get at least two people to test it. Make sure the form works flawlessly (i.e., no typos, no dead links).
Thank your readers for filling out the form and providing them with an incentive to do so as well as a follow-up service/product if applicable
Why should you thank your users?
- Because it’s the nice thing to do.
- Because it’s an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your customers.
- Because it’s a good way to build a reputation as a company that cares about its customers.
- Because it gives you another chance to remind people about your product or service.
- Because if you don’t do it, people will think you are unprofessional.