Categories: Developers / Mobile Apps

Filling in forms is one of the toughest tasks we perform on mobile. Typing in small boxes, toggling between fields and trying to figure out whether you’ve typed in your password correctly are just some of the challenges. No wonder forms have made so many of us click out of an app or give up on a task. To prevent loss and encourage conversions, forms need to be quick, simple and confusion-free.

Here are some tips for making forms less painful for your users.

Keep fields and data input on your mobile app to a minimum

Filling in forms on a mobile app should be easy.

Filling in forms on a mobile app should be easy.

The less typing, the better. No one likes having to input multiple lines of text on mobile. It’s awkward, time consuming, and often complicated by Autocorrect. Mobile app developers should think long and hard about exactly what fields they need to include, and why. Do you really need a phone number or the user’s gender? Is an address essential, or is a state enough? The fewer fields and the less typing required, the better. You can also minimize user effort by using the smart autopopulate feature to, for example, pre-fill the user’s location based on their GPS data.

Label your stuff so that users know what they’re doing

It’s easy to get turned around and confused when you’re doing something for the first time. Each field should have a clear label telling your user what information they’re expected to provide. Avoid using inline text – pre-filled explanatory text – on mobile, as this vanishes when a user goes to fill in a field, taking any context cues with it. Above-the-field or floating labels can be a good option instead. The former literally sits above the field in question, while the latter “shifts” dynamically when the user begins filling in a field.

Keep your design simple, intuitive and uncluttered

Moment of zen: Keep your mobile app's forms uncluttered.

Moment of zen: Keep your mobile app’s forms uncluttered.

Your form should flow in a way that makes sense to the user. One field should lead intuitively into the next. Additionally, once a field is complete, the cursor should automatically advance to the next, saving users a click. Use horizontal tag lists instead of radio buttons to make selection easier, and opt for sliders to make it easier for users to choose things like price points. Use the numberpad keyboard for numerical input, and the regular keyboard for text-based input. Make sure the keyboard doesn’t get in the way of the field being filled. And avoid drop-down menus where possible: use “start typing…” filters, toggle switches and quantity steppers instead.

Flag any mistakes or problems as users go

There’s nothing more frustrating than filling out a form, hitting “submit”, and then getting an error message. The user then has to figure out where they went wrong and what needs to be fixed. Incorporating real-time validation into your mobile app means that your users get immediate feedback if they input a cell number correctly or mistype the domain name in their email address. Ensure that your feedback provides suggestions with exactly what needs to be changed in order for the field to be marked as valid. You can also help avoid errors in the first place by stating any required format specifications or requirements.

In conclusion

Forms are a necessary evil. They’re usually the final step in achieving a user goal or completing a conversion. By making them as simple, intuitive and quick to complete as possible, mobile app developers can reduce bounce rates – and drive user satisfaction.

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Touchtap is a mobile development agency specializing in mobile development. Learn how to get mobile applications developed.

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