Designing e-commerce and checkout forms

This post originally appeared in 2011 on ‘Forms that Work’ – the companion website for Caroline’s book with Gerry Gaffney Forms that Work: designing web forms for usability

hard to read captcha page as part of security check
Captchas may be hurting your conversions. Photo: Fred Miller, creative commons licence

If you’re selling something on the web, then you’ll inevitably come to a point where you’re asking your customers to give you some specific details about how they want to pay and delivery,  whether electronically or to a street address.

Let’s face it: there will be a form.

The principles we describe in our book apply to checkout forms, just like any other form:

  • Understand your customers,
  • Only ask what is completely necessary,
  • Ask questions your users can answer,
  • Make the form look easy,
  • Test, and test again, with your actual customers.

Specific guidelines for e-commerce

Christian Holst published an excellent article on Smashing Magazine: Fundamental guidelines of e-commerce checkout design.

Anil Batra has identified 5 Things That Could Be Hurting Your Conversions.