What happens after I fill in your web form?

Long-time readers will know how irritated I get by web forms, or at least badly-designed ones. Many websites will have forms where the submitted information goes straight into a database, and it’s probably a necessary evil to make the customer do the work here, putting the right stuff into the right boxes. But what makes me furious is where I know the submitted information is just going to be used for something trivial like sending me a brochure, but where I still get forced to comply with arbitrary rules on how I can lay out my address (I don’t have a “street line 2”, and the post office isn’t interested in my county either, so don’t force me to type them in). Worse still is when I’m forced to enter completely irrelevant data like my phone number or email address when I’m not asking you to call me or email me.

But there’s something worse than all that. It’s when I fill in a form, and nothing happens. Maybe the page just stays there, or I get a blank form back, or even get taken to the website’s home page for no reason. Did you get my form submission? I have no idea. Should I complete it all again? Perhaps. A “thank you” confirmation page is so easy to provide, yet loads of companies and their awful website designers can’t be bothered to set that up.

Go to your company’s website and find a contact form, and take a good, long look at it. Are you really making it easy for people to approach you? Then fill the form in, and see what happens. Are you happy that your request has been received and is being acted on? Finally, are you given a good suggestion as to what you might like to do next? Or is the website wasting that opportunity?

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