Forms keep us connected in the digital age. Since we can’t always communicate in person, they provide us with an easy way to reach out to each other.
Contact forms are the virtual equivalent of the “Hey, I’m so-and-so, it’s nice to meet you” handshake.
And the beauty is that a contact form can be as in-depth (or as simple) as you’d like. You can create something simple, or you can go for a more minimalist look. It’s all up to you.
Before building your next creation, check out this recipe for the perfect contact form:
1. Avoid clutter
Nobody wants to fill out a chaotic, poorly designed form.
A sleek, easy-to-read form? Yes, please.
Bad color choices and clutter are a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter how well something works—if the design is terrible, people will be put off.
Excellent design has been said to boost trust, and according to Google, some people form an opinion of a design in as little as 17 milliseconds. Most people make up their minds in approximately 50 milliseconds. That being said, it’s important as ever to keep design in mind and to make sure the first impression is a pleasant one.
And don’t forget to run far, far way from bright, flashy graphics or anything that might be distracting to the human eye.
2. Keep it real
Remember that a contact form is the beginning of a real, human interaction. The more inviting your form is, the better.
The contact form on Teabox.com is a great example of a friendly contact form. It’s warm, welcoming and human. The message sounds like it could be coming from a friend. On top of that, it encourages the visitor to leave their thoughts.
Now imagine the opposite.
Picture being greeted with a message like “Contact us by filling out the form below.” Doesn’t that sound bland and impersonal? If someone is on the fence about contacting you, then a real, reassuring intro message can make all the difference.
Take a moment and think about your favorite brands. Why are they your favorite? Sure, you like their products, but there’s more to it. There’s something that separates them from their competitors. Chances are, it’s their voice that you’re a fan of.
Your contact page is another (often overlooked) opportunity to show off your brand’s personality. Don’t let it slip away.
3. Readability matters
Yep, readability is absolutely crucial—and this goes for anything on your website.
All text and questions should be clear and visible (for example, avoid pairing a light gray background with a white font). Choose a reasonably large font size so that people can easily read on multiple devices. Recent studies show that mobile use is now in the lead, and more are choosing to use mobile over desktop on a regular basis. This means that design needs to catch up with this and cater to the needs of mobile users.
It’s in your best interest to make sure visitors can read what’s on the page without straining. If more obstacles or inconveniences there are, the more likely they will be to leave the form.
Double check to make sure the formatting looks good and that everything is aligned correctly. It’s OK to be a perfectionist when it comes to design.
4. Relevance is key
Make it easy for your visitors: Stick with relevant fields. For example, if a particular question may be helpful but is not completely necessary, you may want to leave it out. This way, you won’t overwhelm visitors with too many fields.
I don’t know about you, but forms overloaded with tons of questions make me look at the clock and wonder, “Do I really have time for this today?”
Designer Eren Emre keeps it simple with a minimalist contact form. Visitors can fill out as much (or as little) as they want, based on their unique needs. The important takeaway here is that they have the choice. This form also gets extra points because it’s personable!
5. Tell them what’s next
Don’t leave people hanging!
Let them know what’s going to happen after they click “Submit.” (By the way, have you made sure your button is bold?)
It’s always a good idea to include helpful details like how long it will take for someone to follow-up, who they’ll be speaking with, and any other relevant info. That way they won’t feel like they’ve just tossed a message into the abyss.
Really, it all comes down to communication. You’re building a relationship with your customers, so it’s important to start off on the right foot.
6. Don’t be boring
I know what you’re thinking: How entertaining can a contact form really be?
The truth is that you can enhance it in many ways to keep the attention of your visitors. This goes hand-in-hand with making sure your form is friendly and personable, but is still worth mentioning.
Feel free to get creative here. If you can make them laugh, even better.
7. Professional branding
When it comes to branding, it’s good to be consistent—and your contact form should be no exception. The font, tone and colors should reflect your personality.
To customize your form in a way that accurately portrays your brand, add a logo and adjust the design using the FormAssembly theme editor and branding feature.
Don’t scare away potential customers with unprofessional design! Now is not the time to bust out the loud, distracting colors or the funky fonts.
When it comes to the perfect contact form, the key is to make sure your form is personable, relevant, professional, and easy to understand.
Really, that’s what most of us want from a design experience of any kind. And since we’re finding that there is a strong connection between first impression and overall quality of design, it’s important that every aspect of a website impresses the visitor.
After all, contact forms are one of the best ways for people to get in touch with you. Make sure you’re keeping visitors engaged by creating a beautiful form. That way, they won’t abandon their form or forget about it entirely.
If you want some more tips, check out our guide to user-friendly forms.
What do you think?
Can you think of an example of an amazing contact form? Feel free to start a discussion in the comments or tweet with us at @FormAssembly.
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