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Reduce form fields and win


The highest-impact, lowest-risk change you can make to your website is removing unnecessary form fields. Your visitors will love you. You’ll be making the Internet a better place. And you don’t even need to test it.

Why it works

Intuitively, nobody likes filling out forms. The longer the form, the worse. But we do it every day.

What’s more, we have a varying level of tolerance for forms, depending on their purpose. If you’re applying for a loan, you’re prepared to put up with a longer form. If you’re buying shoes, you get that shipping and billing addresses are required.

We accept this, but we still don’t enjoy it. So when a form goes too far, when it asks for more than we think is necessary … some of us fill it out anyway, and some of us nope out.

Forms can cause annoyance, and they can also arouse suspicion. “Why are they asking for this? What are they going to do with it?” When we feel suspicious of a website … some of us proceed anyway, and some of us nope out.

Beyond intuition and psychology, there’s plenty of evidence to support reducing form fields as a powerful way to improve UX and increase conversions.

Should you test it?

You don’t need to. Just as you should improve your page load time without testing it, you can file reducing form fields under the “just fix it” category. It’s a pure kindness to your visitors.

Nevertheless, in some cases it’s best to test. If there’s contention within your organization about removing fields, you’ll want to quantify the impact. Build a test to hide the fields, auto-fill them with some placeholder text, and launch.

What you can do today

Lovingly audit every field of your primary conversion form. Ask:

Even if you only identify a single candidate for removal, your time has been well spent. Get rid of it! And profit.

© 2022 Brian David Hall