How to Boost Your Digital Form Submissions

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3 minutes
Three men sitting on a couch with laptops.

Below we have outlined tips and best practices to improve your webforms and encourage users to use the forms you provide directly on your website to reduce the number of phone calls you receive.

1. Keep it simple

On average, short and simple forms receive more submissions than longer complicated ones. Respondents may lose interest in filling out long forms or abandon a complicated form if it becomes too confusing. Consider the following tips for keeping your webform simple and boosting response rates:

  • Focus on the results you want - To keep your webform simple, focus only on the result you want. This will help you avoid asking unnecessary questions and overcomplicating the form. The easiest way to keep your webform short is to ask "Is this field necessary?" If the field is not required, consider not asking it at all and for required fields, consider why it's required.
  • Take advantage of conditional formatting - Conditional formatting is a feature of Drupal 9 webforms that makes certain questions appear only after specified inputs have been given. For example, try selecting "Yes" in the webform below. 
Are you hoping to rent a facility for several days?
If yes, please specify which facility you would like to rent.

Conditional formatting can help make the form more simple, as users won't be shown questions that do not apply to them. However, if you have a larger number of fields that appear conditionally, additional fields may overwhelm users. If possible, avoid having too many conditional questions, so that users can get an accurate sense of how long the form will take them to complete or include a time estimate at the beginning of the form.

  • Avoid double-barrelled or 'trick' questions - Double-barrel questions are questions that ask two things at once. For example, "I check council meeting and garbage collection schedules online: Agree/Disagree". This question is asking both if they use the web for their council meeting schedule, and if they use the web for their garbage collection schedule. Double-barrel questions impact the quality of responses, as it becomes impossible to know if the respondent was answering one or both of the questions asked with their single response. These questions will often include an "and/or" in them, though not always. Have someone review your webform thoroughly for double-barrelled and other potentially tricky questions.

2. Be inclusive

It's important that when building a webform, you ensure that everyone who needs to fill out the form is able to. It may seem like a simple endeavor; however, many common questions may make it difficult for people to fill out a webform. For example, your webform may ask for a respondent's gender. Often, a fixed, binary list is used (Male/Female). In order to make a webform more inclusive, avoid binary options for pronouns or include an "Other" option, with a text field that allows respondents to self-identify, as well as a "Prefer not to say" option. Alternatively, consider the importance of asking about gender at all. If it's not required, it's often better not to include it.

It's not just gender fields that can be exclusive. Naming fields can create a barrier for people who use different names in different situations, or for those whose names don't follow the First Name/Last Name convention and whose name contains characters not accepted by the form. There are many ways forms can be exclusive. When building a webform, consider the possibility of a respondent not being able to answer any given question in the way it was asked

3. Focus on what the end user wants

While it can be easy to focus on what information we want to receive from a webform submission, it is important to consider a user's perspective and the information they are most likely to want to provide. To increase your survey response rate we often recommend beginning your forms with the information your user is most willing or excited to provide. This often means focusing on what the user wants to get from submitting the form. For example, start the form with a list of services or permit information that is then followed by more standard questions like name, contact information, etc.

4. Be mobile-friendly

Just as your website needs to be responsive and mobile-friendly the same goes for your online forms. An increasing amount of users are using their mobiles to look up information on the go, or when they are at home. If a webform can not be easily submitted on a mobile device you will be losing out on lots of valuable feedback because you can bet users will not switch devices to fill out your form, they are more likely to try another avenue like calling your team which can take up resources and reduces efficiency.

We hope this helps you boost your digital form submissions and provides insight into webform best practices. For more tips about website management and the Drupal content management system (CMS) view our other articles: 

If you would like to discuss Drupal's capabilities or your next web project, we would be happy to learn about your goals. 

Please contact us to start a conversation or request a quote. 

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