How do you design super long forms?

4 years ago from chris limbrick, Digital Product Designer

  • James Young, 4 years ago

    I can share some feedback on the work we've done on Selby College's application form over the last couple of years if you're interested.

    An example of their application form

    A couple of years ago their form was significantly longer (at least 50% more fields) and we've worked with them to trim that down based on feedback and testing we:

    • Removed practically all optional fields on the form and instead of putting required on all fields we put optional next to a few which cuts down on label noise
    • Some fields are legally required and have to be asked up front (learning/disability section for example)
    • Broke the form down initially into 6 sections in first iteration and then into 4 in current one when we trimmed more fields out
    • Added field notes on some inputs to help clarify what info we were collecting or why (eg. Mobile number field)
    • When you progress to next section, keep previous section open and easy to access if applicant needs to go back or review what they've written

    Completion rates on the 4 step form over the original version and also the 6 step process are up significantly which is good for the college because each application is potentially a valuable new student enrolling in what is an extremely competitive industry/market.

    Feedback from students is that the form is still quite long but a definite improvement. It's worth noting that the college admin team still speak to the applicant after they receive an application (which allowed us to remove many optional fields - offsetting that data collection to later to make the form less intimidating).

    I'm sure there's still a lot to improve on but that's just a few notes from a couple of short sprints to fix a big form for one of our clients.

    1 point