Prune and tune your forms – webinar

Advertisement for a 'lunch and learn' webinar on forms optimisation with Caroline Jarrett, Orok Brooks, and Alun Lucas“Who wants a longer, more horrible form?” That’s the question that I asked at the start of a Lunch and Learn webinar I joined recently.

Orok Brooks, UX researcher and instructor, joined the discussion, hosted by Alun Lucas of forms optimisation vendor Zuko.

I described a four-stage framework to make your forms shorter and less horrible, which ought to make a better user experience:

  • Prune: get rid of questions you don’t need at all
  • Tune: make questions easier to interact with and answer
  • Postpone: only ask when you need the answer
  • Explain: say why you need the answer

If you’d like a longer explanation of the framework, have a look at prune, tune, postpone, explain – to improve your questionnaire. And I think it works for forms, too.

Orok chimed in with thoughts from his extensive experience of working in large organisations, especially finance ones, and of teaching his students on Love Circular professional courses.

Although I suggested that we want to aim to make shorter forms, Alun mentioned a form where a longer experience had led to better conversion rates.

So we all had a lively discussion about when a longer form might be more appropriate, how to test and investigate forms, and even had time to chat about a few of the finer details such as whether it is a good idea to to tell people how long a form might take, and if so how to calculate that time.

Special thanks to Ilyās Inayat, UX designer, who bravely raised his hand to defend longer forms at the start of the session. A technology glitch meant that I wasn’t able to hear about his rationale straight away, but listen to the end of the recording and you’ll hear that in the end we did agree – nobody wants a more horrible form, but sometimes we can make forms easier by making them longer.

Watch the recording (33 minutes) on the Zuno website

Download the slides: Prune tune postpone explain (.pdf)- Creative Commons licensed