7 Cardinal Rules for Building an Accessible Webform and Boosting Conversions
on September 23, 2015
How Can You Begin Creating Accessible Web Forms and End Up Converting Site Visitors?
Every year, the UK music industry loses2.5 million ticket sales owing to inaccessible booking sites.
Ability Net, a UK-based charity organization helping disabled children and adults use computers and the nternet by adjusting and adapting their technology, says that e-commerce loses out £50 billion a year due to poor web accessibility.
Citizens with Disabilities, Ontario (CWDO), which actively promotes the rights and responsibilities of persons living with disabilities, asserts that those with vision loss in the United Kingdom have a disposable income of around £50 million pounds, while in the United States, the figure stands at $175 billion.
These are just a handful of examples of how inaccessible sites bring about huge loss in sales.
A well-organized and usable form is a question of not only normal users but also those with cognitive disabilities. It’s an area in web development that you need to invest considerable time and resources. Your web forms shouldn’t be a reason for visitors to click back or click away within seconds of landing on the home page.
Accessibility to a site through user-friendly forms is a legal requirement in countries like U.S. and UK.
Accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO) are closely related. If more people can fill out your forms, it increases the chances of many people filling out the forms. Better user experience means reduced friction and a boost to conversions and profit margins. It’s all about increased signups and sales.
Having seen the importance of a fully accessible form, let’s explore 7 major steps to create a more accessible form that is tuned to ultimately boost conversions.
- Optimize tab navigation: Manipulate the tab order in your form and control how different elements function. This is to make sure that they follow a logical sequence and order that you expect. The aim is to simplify user accessibility to and navigation of the form.
- Make form’s field labels clear: Unclear and ambiguous field labels of a form can be a liability. Baymard Institute, a web usability research organization, found that 92% of top e-commerce sites have inadequate form field descriptions. Clear field labels assume significance for web users hearing them via a screen reader so that the context is not lost.
- Exercise flexibility in data input: Specifying the data format you require is as important as writing easy-to-understand labels. The best example is that of password creation. In case of a strict password validation system, let users know how to pass it by listing all the criteria. Also specify features like DD/MM/YY in the field label to tell users the kind of format you expect.
- Send relevant and helpful error messages: It helps to make room for errors and make your error messages helpful because sometimes users make mistakes. If a user makes a mistake and they find it extremely difficult or almost impossible to rectify it, then chances are that they will quit your form. Error messaging that directly addresses the issue saves a wasted conversion chance.
- Be extra careful with icon fonts: Icon fonts are graphical representations of an idea, for instance, an icon of a person to represent a user. They are also used in forms e.g. alongside an email address field. But software for dyslexic individuals uses a system font incompatible with icon fonts. So, despite their aesthetic purpose, icon fonts raise the question of conversions. They can pose harmful accessibility issues and have negative affect on your conversion rate. Icon fonts are often very large and clumsy to download and they may slow down the webpage.40% of users reportedly bounce if a webpage takes more than 5 seconds to load. An alternative to icon fonts is Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), graphics defined in XML format. They come with smaller file sizes while still scalable.
- Avoid drop-down menus: A drop-down menu requires users to scroll several steps to find the relevant answer. It can be a turn-off for users with restricted motor skills. A useful and efficient feature like autocomplete where suggestions appear below the form field based on what a user types makes form-filling a faster process. When Printerland, the largest independent reseller of printers and consumables in the UK, enhanced their internal search, they found that visitors who interacted with autocomplete suggestions were 6 times more likely to convert
- Stay away from CAPTCHA: True, they may be seen as an effective way to prevent spams and separate legitimate human users from bots, but they also alienate users and kill conversions. At least 23% of people don’t get the CAPTCHA right the first time, and 15% of them are unable to complete it at all. Visually challenged users testing audio reCAPTCHA take 65 seconds on average to complete the task. Phone verification may be used as an alternative to this. At best, you can handle spams behind the scenes rather than placing the onus of proof on users.
In conclusion, one may say that so much emphasis has been given to accessibility to forms. It’s simply because of the importance of augmenting user experience. Better user experience is known to boost conversions.