Forms are an essential part of every WordPress website. They are critical aspects of user experience as they make it easy for your visitors to get in touch with you. If you are not following the form design best practices, you may turn off many of your prospects. So styling your WordPress forms need to get equal attention as other parts of your website.

Luckily, WordPress users have many plugin options to build effective forms. But you couldn’t leave everything on the plugin. To make your WordPress forms better, it’s essential to walk through some form design best practices. Now, if you are looking for some useful tips for styling your WordPress forms, you are at the right place!

In this article, we are going to show you some form design best practices for styling your WordPress forms. So Let’s move forward.

Keep it Simple and Straightforward:

There is nothing better than a simple and easy-to-fill form. The simple, nice clean style of the form with few fields and large fonts creates an aesthetic appeal for users to fill it out. Always ask the most relevant questions, because every additional field visitor has to fill out increases friction. 

Remember, the more form field you add, the more time a user has to spend. Time is valuable so respect their time. Think if you really need the information you are asking for while designing the form.

However, it’s also not necessary that reducing form fields will always increase conversions. The only thing that matters most is adding only necessary and relevant fields in the form. You may also A/B test different form designs to see what works best for your website.

Use One Column:

A study by CXL Institute found that survey participants completed the linear, single-column form an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form.

Generally, single-column layouts are easier to follow, understand, and complete, and result in faster completion. On the other hand, multiple columns can disrupt vertical momentum so it takes more time to process. It also takes time to understand the multi-column layout. Users may not like to waste their time trying to understand and complete your form. So, you might lose them if your form is too difficult to work through.

Moreover, mobile screens are smaller than desktop computers. So multiple-column forms would most likely be hard to read and work through for mobile users. On the other hand, single-column layouts are more comfortable to review and complete.

Indicate Which Fields are Optional:

As we mentioned earlier, you should keep your form field minimal. But sometimes the more question you ask users, the more effective marketing and targeting you can use. So, if you must ask optional questions, indicate whether each question is required or optional. Users also appreciate it when you mark which fields are mandatory and which are optional because it saves their time and effort.

You can add the words “required” or “optional” to each form field label. But we prefer using an asterisk (*) mark for required fields. Though some users may not understand what the asterisk mark (*) stands for. So you should show a hint at the side of the asterisk (*) mark or the bottom of the form explaining what it is for. You can also set validation rules, by setting which type (text, number, date, etc.) of input you want.

Size Fields Accordingly:

The length of a form field should reflect the range of text you want your users to enter. For instance, fields like phone number, house number, and zip code should be shorter in length. Using the same length for every form field doesn’t look good. So size your form filed according to the input you are expecting.

Begin with Simple Questions:

It is always a good idea to begin your form by asking simple questions. Most of the time the answer to simple questions (such as name, email address, phone number, etc.) are stored by the user’s browser. So, when they begin filling out the form quickly, they feel compelled to finish. But when you ask the hardest question first users will be more likely to abandon the form since they didn’t invest any time yet.

Use Radio Button or Checkbox:

If any of your questions have less than 6 options then go for the radio button or checkbox. The radio button and checkbox make all options visible and make easier options to scan which makes the form filling process faster. More specifically, add a radio button when you want the user to select one option. On the other hand, the checkbox is the best option for choosing multiple options.

Explain why you are Asking for Sensitive Information:

Firstly, don’t ask for sensitive information if it’s not absolutely necessary. Secondly, if it’s necessary, make sure to explain, why you need them. Add a support text below the field to explain it. It will make them feel safe to provide the information.

Use Conditional Logic:

Sometimes, some form fields may not relevant to every user. And users don’t like when their time is being wasted. Also, it’s not a good experience for users to answer or skip several questions that don’t apply to them. Conditional logic is a way to display or hide fields based on a user’s response to other fields. By using conditional logic, you can collect the data you need without straining the user experience. It can reduce your abandonment rate by shortening your forms. Many WordPress Form builder plugins come with the conditional logic feature, Live Forms is so far the best among them.

Use Multiple Steps and Progress bar if the Form is Long:

Sometimes you can’t reduce form fields even if you want. At the same time, you don’t even want your visitors to scroll your for a long time or leave. But what is the solution?

In that case, you can split up the form into multiple steps to increase completion. While designing multiple steps form, group similar fields together and provide the same number of fields in each section. Also, try to add a progress bar to your multiple steps form. It helps users to get an idea of the number of steps and how much time they’ll need to complete the form. It also motivates users to complete the form.

Use Inline Form Field Validation:

Doing mistakes during filling in a form is natural. But you need to make it easy for the user to recover from errors. Suppose, you filled out a form and got a warning after you pressed the “Submit” button. You must be feeling irritated. And it becomes the worst when it isn’t clear what mistakes you’ve done and where. Always keep yourself in the visitor’s place. That will make you feel what makes your user’s journey easy.

To make the error recovering process easy, you must use inline validation. Inline validation is a process that reviews users’ information in real-time and informs them about the correctness of the data user has inputted. By using inline validation, you can show a warning below or inside the form field whenever users fill in the field with incorrect information. Try to show the inline validation messages within 500ms after users stop typing. It will help them to correct the mistake quickly before moving on to the next form field.

Auto-fill Information:

Auto-fill can reduce the number of fields a user has to fill out and streamline the form-filling process. It uses users’ data stored in their own browser. Users also like forms that use auto-fill, as it saves users time and energy.

Include Smart Default:

Including smart defaults on forms minimize your user’s effort, make the completion process faster, and ensure accuracy. Suppose, if you are asking for the phone number, suggest a default phone extension based on the users. It will save users time and boost user experience. However, you should only set default values if a large portion of your users will select the same values.

Avoid Captcha:

Adding Captcha on your form means you are asking for extra effort from your customer. But at the same time, it gives you an extra layer of protection from spam. However, try to avoid Captcha if your form doesn’t have a security issue.

Be Clear with Error Message:

Nothing can be more frustrating than keeping your user unsure about what exactly went wrong. Be clear, direct, and positive at the same time to your users about the Error Message.

Don’t just show the “Something went wrong” message. Precisely state what went wrong so that users can quickly pinpoint the issue and make it correct. For instance, if someone entered the wrong email address, then show the message “Email address is invalid”. It will make users understand where they went wrong and how to correct it.

Never use a Reset or Clear button:

Many times users fill out the form and press the first button they see because they think it’s the submission button. And if someone accidentally clears the fields, there is very less chance to fill them again. Even if, that’s not the case, you should avoid buttons like “Reset”, “Clear”, or “Cancel”. These buttons can rarely help users so you don’t need them.

Make Your Form Mobile Friendly:

As we know, almost half of the site visits come from mobile devices. So your form must need to be mobile-friendly. Even though most of the WordPress form builder plugins build mobile-responsive forms, you need to keep some issues in mind. Design your form in a way that all of the form information fits the screen and users are able to input their data easily. Try to avoid pop-up forms. Most of the time they don’t fit into users’ mobile screens.

Leave Thank You Massage after Form Submission:

Users always feel special when you appreciate them. Without that, it’s always best practice to inform your users that their form is submitted successfully. So, include the “Thank you” in your form submission message. By doing this you can assure them that the form is submitted, at the same time appreciating them.

Make Your Form Accessible:

Making your form accessible means making forms that will useable not only for ordinary users but also for users with disabilities. It’s one of the most remarkable form design best practices. To make your form accessible, the first thing you need to ensure is that it works well with screen readers. Increase the font size to make your form easy to understand for low vision people. Also, you should provide some additional identification for color-blind people. Lastly, don’t forget to check the implementation of your form designs to make sure it meets accessibility benchmarks.

The filling-out form isn’t something that enjoyable to most users. By following form design best practices, you can make a huge positive impact on their form filling process. These small efforts will significantly increase the usability and boost conversions of your forms. So, what are you waiting for? Try these WordPress form design best practices and maximize your website traffic.

Let us know if you have tried any other form styling tips that worked for you. Our comment box is always open your our visitor’s comments, queries, and suggestions.

Also, install the Live Forms form builder plugin for experiencing the best WordPress form building journey! You can start with the free version and purchase the paid version if you liked the free one.

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