Use validation to increase form signups

1. Use inline validation in your forms to inform the user about what he did wrong right away.

This type of validation uses messages immediately after the user enters data in a field. These messages typically display information about what the user did wrong and how to fix it. Inline validation creates a more satisfying experience for the user because it lets the user know right away what’s wrong.

2. Make forms more pleasant by using microcopy to increase clarity, friendliness, and flexibility.

Be more specific about how to enter data, like whether to include dashes or spaces in a card number. Tell users why you need information to reduce friction. Save the user time if they make a mistake. If you need to show an error message, populate fields with the data they entered so they don’t have to start from scratch. Be nice when communicating errors. Make the message helpful and friendly. Don’t use negative words such as oops, failed, wrong, and so on. Focus on what they need to do to fix the error. Consider using checkmarks to show users where their input is valid. Don’t be picky. Avoid requiring information in a specific format unless necessary. For example, allow users to enter a date with a slash (/) or dot (.) in between the numbers; don’t require spaces or brackets in a phone number. If a specific format is necessary, make it clear with microcopy or have it converted by a script. Use loose field validation to make the experience more inclusive. Start with relaxed rules on a form until you identify a problem with entries, and then tighten the field rules.

3. Avoid password masking and infield labels and use restrictions on responses to prevent error messages.

Users make more errors when they can’t see what they’re typing while filling in a form. Then they feel less confident and give up more easily, leading to lost conversions. The more uncertain users feel about typing passwords, the more likely they are to use a simple password or copy and paste passwords from a file on their computer. Both behaviors lower security. Consider not requiring password confirmation. Instead, allow them to join with another service, such as Google. Don’t use infield labels. Infield labels look like pre-filled answers and interrupt the conversational flow. If the label disappears as soon as the field receives focus, then screen readers can’t read the label. Make suggestions or force responses. Restrict responses to the user can’t make an error. For example, use a drop-down menu to select a date or use a drop-down to select a range of numbers.

4. Detect the areas of the highest impact for your form conversion rates by tracking form errors to segment your audience - see which error messages correlate most with abandoned forms, and focus on fixing those.

Use tools, such as Formisimo, to measure form analytics, error messages, abandonments, and completions. This allows you to reduce the number of corrections on a form field to reduce friction on the form. Set up scripts to track JavaScript errors on your page that you can send to custom events in Google Analytics. This allows you to track form errors. Use Google Tag Manager to track your form engagement.