Making web forms conversational

Are you caring about your web forms?

I came across this great article on Smashing Magazine from last November talking about web forms. The post is stuffed with great advice, but the following leapt out at me:

A form is a conversation, not an interrogation.

Order the labels logically, reflecting the natural flow of a conversation. For example, wouldn’t it be weird to ask someone their name only after having asked a number of other questions? More involved questions should come towards the end of the form.

It reminded me of the excellent signup form on Huffduffer. This signup process recognises that web forms should reflect the natural way we converse. Filling it in feels more like a conversation and less like a chore. It engages, while many forms just demand input. Websites and computers generally can be impersonal and cold. We need to work hard to counteract this tendency. Forms are one way we can do this.

Huffduffer signup form

Have you seen other forms with a friendly and conversational tone? If so share them in the comments.

  • Well done huffduffer. I’d fill that form in an I hate filling forms and creating passwords.

  • Jeff Mackey

    I’m a huge fan of conversational forms. My own Request a Proposal form is created with the awesome Gravity Forms WordPress plugin and a little extra javascript:

    I’ve found that guiding prospects through the service options I offer results in a higher submit rate and less confusion on their part.

  • Thanks Paul. Interesting. As a ux researcher, I use conversational forms to ask people to evaluate an experience. Because questionnaires are quite boring, and because you can ask the participants more interesting questions. You can also seamlessly integrate the situation or scenario in the questionnaire AND it is fun (I presume) to fill in. 

  • I really like Jeff Mackey’s version below – you can tell there’s been time and effort invested in the questions and flow. Although I wonder if the higher submission rate is due to the interesting/fun factor of the format i.e. it doesn’t look like a form?!

    @google-f8399bfdd323af844f68717e03bbfb38:disqus Have you A/B split tested against a classic format or was it simply clear from before and after results?

    We flipped the form upside down in terms of personal details but have a have a more old school layout to our quite web design quote request form and I’d say the conversion rate and quality is very healthy ( but would really welcome some expert criticism from either of you (or anyone else)!

    Thanks for article Paul.


    • Jeff Mackey

      Thanks for the comments, Cameron. I appreciate it. No, I have not done any A/B testing on it, and have only noticed that prospects think it’s slick. I probably need to pay more attention to how it converts but honestly haven’t had a lot of time to do so.

      • [email protected]:disqus I think we can all relate! Usability testing can be a bit like going running during the winter…we know we should and we’d be better off afterwards but we just don’t get around to it :)

  • I heard many times about conversational forms. One of my friend is mastered to making this kind of forms. Might be now It will be easier for me to making it, through your information.