Mobile forms are a wonderful way to monitor user experience and opinion. If done effectively, they can teach you everything that you possibly need to know about your user base. If mishandled, however, they can just be a pure annoyance for your users and potentially drive them off in a quick way. That is the last thing that you want.
What you do want is to create a conversation with your user, and not alienate them. What are some things to avoid when creating a mobile form so this doesn’t happen, though? Let’s discuss the five important things not to do when creating a mobile form.
1. Input Validation
Of course, input validation is designed to be your friend, but sometimes it can sweep right around and knock your virtual legs out from under you. This not only muddles your results, but causes annoyance for the user. In order to avoid this, you need to make sure that the rules are not too strict, that there are clear hints to the user about what format that you are expecting, and auto-format whenever at all possible.
2. Slicing Fields
When you slice input fields, you are breaking up input areas in order to create a cleaner, easier to manage space to enter information. This is fantastic when it actually works! However, there are many times when it simply does not and the user may become confused by the entire section. This is why you need to be extra careful when slicing fields. Make sure that you test it out for yourself and ask whether or not you would like to use that as a user.
3. Copying Conventions
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. While that may be true in some cases, paper forms do not have emotions and therefore do not care if they are imitated or not. Attempting to imitate a paper form on a mobile form is just a bad idea, as it does not translate well at all, and generally just does not work. There is no real need to attempt to copy a paper form, as the standard mobile form works perfectly fine. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
4. Auto Complete
You should deeply consider auto complete when creating a mobile form. People love it when their browser simply fills all of the mundane stuff out for them, and that is a wonderful little trick. However, it can be tricky if your mobile app is not set up properly. If the auto correct gets confused do to a sloppily made form, then you may miss out on important information that the user will not think twice about double checking. It isn’t their fault that the form wasn’t set up properly, right?
5. Non-Standard Components
We all love when our forms look all fancy and clean, right? With that brand new component that you wanted to try out right in the middle of the form, waiting to be used. There’s no harm in using it, yeah? Well… Yeah, there is something wrong with using it. You don’t really know how it will work, how older browsers will react to it, and even how it will come across to the unsuspecting user. It doesn’t seem like it should be much of an issue, but it really can be one. Therefore, it may be better to just not use it and stick to the standard components.