Forms are never fun. They might even be universally hated, on smartphone.

As a product designer if we had a choice, we would wish them away for good. Unfortunately the reality is that many businesses rely on having their users fill the form to be able to effectively serve them.

The path that is normally taken is Logical one. "Let's try and minimise the the number of fields".

While that is a good starting point that is not enough. In this post we wanted to explore if there are other ways, may be Psycho-Logical alongside Logical ones that we can tap into to tackle "Long Forms on Short Devices" better.


Building LinkedIn for Blue Collar Jobs.

How do you allow recruiters to post jobs from their mobile devices.

The Form Is Long. With a lot of Fields.

The Main Question: What can be done to reduce the complexity ?

Below we list out 7, Logical and Psycho-Logical ideas based on universal design principles/research to reduce the complexity of filling out a long form.

  1. Hick's Law : More The Options, Harder The Decision. Complexity of decision increases with the number of options. More, the number of options, more time and effort it takes to make the decision.

    Hick's is stacked against use in this scenario. How can we make it work for us, rather than against us.

  2. Minimizing Task Perception: The first thing users do when they see a new form is estimating how much time would be required to complete it.

    Separate the fields in different steps to ease the user's perception of how hard it is to complete. Try and make the whole process look easy!

  3. Progress Bar: "If you cannot reduce the pain, at-least tell me how long it is going to last."

    Help users understand visually, how far they are into the process. A progress bar helps in indicating the same.

    P.S Just imagine if there was a progress bar on this COVID situation. Just knowing how we are say 50% done with it, would be such a relief for most people.

  4. Database Normalization: It is a model from the world of Computer science that essentially means to re-structure a relational database in accordance with a series of so-called normal forms in order to reduce data redundancy and improve data integrity.

    DO NOT WORRY: If you did not understand the above sentence on the first read. I bet many who have studied Computer Science wont be able to recall this concept off the top of their minds.