How to create high-quality form questions

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You’ve got their interest. Someone is thinking about using your service or your product. So it’s now important that you get the right information from them. When you’re creating a form to do this, there are a few things to remember. After all, an online form is a kind of dialogue between your company and your customers. High-quality online forms will ensure the smooth exchange of information. Successful communication is all about formulating your questions correctly.

How to create high-quality form questions

Before you start creating your online form, take a minute to think about the form layout and the questions your form should include. If you structure your form properly and make sure your questions address your customer’s needs, then you will ensure the success of the dialogue between your company and its clientele: your form will collect the data that your company needs in the right format. Your form user experience will be positive and so people will not break off halfway through.

Online forms: general layout

In terms of content, all of your form questions should address a single topic. If you need data on multiple topics, then it is better to put these questions on separate pages or include topic-based sections within your form. This means users can answer all of the questions on one topic before proceeding to the next one, creating a sense of clarity and orientation.

Using a clear-cut structure within an individual topic area is also helpful. Our advice would be to start with your general questions and then work towards more detailed topics as a step-by-step process. If any of your questions require sensitive data, you should try to include these at the end of your form.

The aim is to keep effort as low as possible for your users as they fill out the form. Form managers like Formcentric have a number of useful built-in functions that help users to fill them out.

Autocomplete for input fields accelerates the form completion process. Dynamic forms can hide specific fields or even entire pages, so that customers only need to view and answer the questions that are relevant for them. Formcentric can also make calculations using the values entered and then update the form dynamically. Depending on user input, this lets the form offer adjusted quantities, periods of time or prices, for example. Form fields with real-time validation check for the use of the correct format during input for items of information like email addresses, postcodes, IBANs or VAT numbers, for example, and inform users immediately about mistakes made during data entry. In this way, the form prevents user frustration during the completion process while ensuring the data entered is of a high quality.

Online forms: optimising your questions

When it comes to formulating individual questions, the emphasis is on clarity and unambiguity. Try to use short questions that are formulated clearly and precisely. The question should be instantly comprehensible. This ensures that you don’t leave room for several different interpretations. Formulate your questions using normal, everyday language. Imagine that your form is like two people having a conversation. Users should find it easy to work through your questions and be able to answer them immediately after reading them.

Potential pitfalls – what to avoid:

• Ambiguous wording

• Complex sentences

• Unusual terms or abbreviations that need explaining

• Jargon used within your company or industry

• Questions that address several issues in different topics

• Multiple-response questions where the responses are not mutually exclusive

• Use of negation in your questions
Questions like ‘Have you never experienced a situation where…’ are likely to confuse.

• Leading questions

Use neutral wording and never attempt to influence the answer picked by your users.

More tips for simple forms

One way to optimise your online forms is to try them out on people in your company. Ask co-workers in your team, for example, to find out whether your question wording is easy to understand. And don’t forget to use your form manager features! Formcentric helps you to optimise your forms in many ways while you are creating them.

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