Web Design Tips to Power Up Your Contact Forms

As the Rake Mark Web Design Tips series continues so do the web design blogs that expand on the web design tweets and help to fill in any gaps that 140 characters via the Rake Mark Twitter Feed doesn’t allow.

These five web design tips tweets were aimed at helping website owners and website designers make the most out of their contact forms, so this is a shorter web design blog article but all regarding powering up your contact forms specifically.

Holding Personal Data? You Need a Website Privacy Policy

Web Design Tip 29: If you are going to ask for personal information via a sign up or contact form, then you need a privacy policy

Since I’m a web developer in Staffordshire and not a legal expert I can’t advise on the specifics of a website privacy policy. I can tell you that there are widely available boilerplate website privacy policy documents where you can ‘fill in the blanks’. We have one that is licensed to Rake Mark and for our clients and this is included in our legal document package in our web design packages.

Of course you could just find a website with a privacy policy and substitute pertinent information with your company details. The Google website privacy policy used to be very popular for this, I don’t know if it still is.

Required Fields Can Do More Harm Than Good

Web Design Tip 30: Keep contact and sign-up forms simple with the information you need. The same goes for required fields, try not to insist

Web Design Tip 31: On contact forms, required fields can annoy your website visitors. If you don’t absolutely need their phone number, ask but don’t insist

Required fields are the fields on a form that the website designer says you have to fill in and can be one of the most annoying things about contact forms. If you want a quick answer to a question about rabbit food then do you really need my address? Of course not. So if you would like the address then ask for it but don’t require that field on a contact form.

Your contact forms require a way for you to get in touch with the person asking the question (email usually but a phone number will also serve) and then the enquiry itself. That’s all. End of. A name is nice, but not needed, its not required.

Lots of required fields will increase your ‘abandon rate’ on forms, website visitors just won’t fill them in, they’ll leave your web page or website instead.

Website Form Validation: Handle with Care

Web Design Tip 32: Another contact forms tip, keep validation to a minimum. Not everyone will agree that a postcode has to have your exact format

Web Design Tip 33: Another contact forms tip, keep validation to a minimum. Some people want to put in brackets & spaces when entering their phone number

Web Form validation is using computerised rules to make sure that the information that a web visitor enters makes sense. So your web designer might say that the phone number box can only be filled with numbers or that a postcode box should be filled in a set format.

The issue with this can be that your visitors might not take the same view as you regarding a phone number only being numbers. I always enter my phone number with gaps, so the number for the web design staffordshire offices would be 01785 256 222. This isn’t just numbers (it has space characters in it) and would be rejected. The same would be true if I bracketed the area code.

Website Contact Forms: The Golden Rule is Keep It Simple

It is essential that you keep any web forms on your website as simple a possible. You want your visitors to fill these in to sign up to newsletters, to ask you questions and to engage. Requiring extra information and making them difficult to fill in with unnecessary validation will turn your web visitors off and send them running into the arms of your competitors.

Keep up to date with the Web Design Staffordshire team by following the Rake Mark Twitter Feed.



  12 comments for “Web Design Tips to Power Up Your Contact Forms

  1. Marky Mark
    14th May 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Fantastic website. A lot of useful info here. Thanks

  2. Harriet Townsend
    19th May 2012 at 11:22 am

    I’m not sure that taking someone else’s website privacy policy is a good idea. You need a legal professional to look over it and make sure it does what you need it to.

  3. Philip Allen
    28th May 2012 at 9:11 am

    Have you considered adding several social bookmarking links to these sites. At least for bebo..

    • 31st May 2012 at 6:02 am

      Hi Philip (good name by the way). We have a number of share buttons at the top of the page. Reviewing web design and where to put share buttons is something we look at quite a bit. If you have your share buttons scrolling up and down it can start to look a bit desperate, you know? Please share this…. PLEASE…. I’ll be your best friend.

      I’d rather have a little discrete share area so if readers want to share they can.

      Bebo? I’m sure its in there something, just click on the plus sign

  4. Mo Finch
    29th May 2012 at 11:16 pm

    The final piece of the ‘website journey’ jigsaw puzzle is the contact form, and it is so often overlooked…

  5. Mark McCann
    30th May 2012 at 8:42 am

    been exploring for high quality articles, stumbled upon this website. Good stuff, like it, thanks

  6. Bob Hussain
    30th May 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Re: Validation. It depends on your site, the data your collecting and your client. If your client wants validation up the yazoo then you gotta give it to them

    • 31st May 2012 at 6:03 am

      I take your point Bob, the customer is King. As a web designer though it is your job to make sure that the customer understands not only what best practise is but *why* it is that way.

  7. Viteb
    27th August 2012 at 10:19 am

    All the web design tips to power up the contact form of a website are good.These tips would be very much helpful to those who are beginners in this vast field.

  8. Web Design
    27th September 2012 at 11:12 am

    There are many techniques that can be used to power up the contact form. Try to make the environment around the contact form more colorful and attractive.

  9. webdesign firma
    31st October 2012 at 10:40 am

    Many times a web designer overlook the importance of a contact form. A contact form is an important form of a website.

  10. Andrei
    3rd January 2015 at 3:52 pm


    I’m a marketing manager at Traffic Buddy. I came across http://www.rakemark.com and this great article, jsut wanted to say thank

    Here’s to your success and quick website growth!

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