Form Conversion Lesson 2: Complexity Kills! How to Keep it Simple

Ever looked at a form and passed right by it because it looked like it will take more time than you have right now? Here’s how to not build *that* form!

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

-Steve Jobs, Businessweek, 12 May 1998

Make smart choices about the fields you use!

You can get the exact same functionality out of several different fields sometimes. When you have a choice of fields, always use the ones that are going to be the least visually intimidating and the quickest for the user to fill out. For example:

Instead of presenting 6 options in a dropdown menu:


Present them as a radio list:


Or a checkbox list:


The radio or checkbox list requires 1 click instead of two, is more scannable, and is just an all around cleaner way of handling selection options. A form with multiple dropdowns is going to give the perception of a much greater time investment than a form with multiple radio or checkbox options.

In Ninja Forms, the Radio List, Checkbox List, and Select (dropdown) fields can be found in the Common Fields section of the fields drawer.

Also, remember to keep a focus on the information you need. Sometimes limiting choice is a good thing; you are more likely to get information you can use and sort through more easily, and the process is easier for the user with the guidance that you provide.

We mentioned this in the last installment as well, but this:


Is a much cleaner and focused way to collect this data, with a lower perception of time investment, than this:ss4

3 Ways Long Forms Can Still Make a Great First Impression

Sometimes a form just can’t be short, but you still don’t want to scare the user/customer away with a huge form. You can get very creative with the options you have in front of you! Here are a few great ideas to get you started on a great first impression:

1) The biggest positive impact you can have on a long form is to make it not look at all like a long form! You + Multi-Part Forms can accomplish feats of magic. Take a crazy long form, and turn the first impression from this:



The user can’t even see the whole form at a glance. I even cut the bottom of the thing off here to save you time scrolling!

Using multiple pages, the first impression looks a lot cleaner and less involved:


Now your user’s first impression goes from “holy cow I don’t have time for this” to, “I can do this”. Once a user has invested even a little bit of time in a form, they’re far more likely to finish. The trick is to encourage that initial investment with a clean, easy to start page 1, in this case.

2) Of course, impressions need to fall within reasonable expectations as the user works on the form. Forms often get completed over a short break in a user’s very hectic day. How many times a day do you find yourself with 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there? If your form can’t be completed in one short sitting, Save Progress gives your users a way to return to a form later without losing their work.

3) Just maybe though, breaking your form into pages might actually be more than you need. Some forms can benefit just by some selective tailoring on your part.

Ask yourself: is each field on this form applicable to every single user?

If not, then you might be able to hide certain fields and make them appear only if a user indicates needs them. You have the ability to do that with Conditional Logic. Just set a field to be hidden unless there is a specific response entered into another field, and viola, that field disappears until it’s needed. This can be applied to entire pages of a multi-part, too!