Tip of the fortnight 10: The DOs and DON'Ts of web form validations you need to know

Tip of the fortnight 10: The DOs and DON'Ts of web form validations you need to know

Hello fellow form builders,

I'm sure you've been reading a lot of how-to articles about creating stunning forms, automating your favorite integrations, and how to reach the epitome of perfect form building. 

What if I told you there's a common pitfall that can bring down your conversions? That's right—if your responders encounter several errors as they fill out a form, they can easily grow frustrated. On the contrary, you don't want your customers to leave you with a blank form either. A solution for this can be found in field validations.

If you're already familiar with field validations inside Zoho Forms, this article will cover the DOs and the DONTs of it. If you're new to this topic, there's no need to stress—I'll pitch why you should start using them.
The DOs of field validations

Provide dynamic errors in preferred languages
Being clear while communicating errors is pretty important. In Zoho Forms, we have a list of error messages  that instantly appear when a user incorrectly fills in a field. This is shown before they even move on to the next field. Be that as it may, there may be a need to personalize these errors in a specific language based on your audience. Construct your error messages on par with language and style of your field labels.


Provide clear instructions  
It's common to neglect adding instructions. But instructions or hints are likely to improve your form's usability. Displaying instructions and the exact format of an answer when a form loads can help customers finish up the form quicker. This reduces the likelihood of errors and, ergo, improves your form's conversion rates.   

Here's a list you can keep in mind while constructing errors: 
  1. Keep the language simple and clean : Clear-cut instructions work best. Keep your audience in mind during construction and use language they'll understand.
  2. Keep jargons at bay : Avoiding jargons is your key to better communication. Sentences with jargons can cause confusion and may sometimes lead users to misunderstand the context.
  3. Keep the form's length in mind : Long sentences can go beyond the width of the field box, making your form look ugly. Try to use minimal words while delivering what has to be said.   
Mark required fields 
Getting hit with spam or unfilled submissions is the last thing you'd want for your forms. Solve this by marking a field as Mandatory, leaving the user no choice but to give an answer for that field in order to advance further with the form.

This leaves an asterisk (*) sign at the end of the mandatory field's name. It also helps users know what fields they need to enter to quickly wrap up the form. This will help them avoid frustration. You can also use it to your advantage while creating Sign up, Subscriptions, Event Registrations, and more where contact information must be captured. 

Positioning of field labels
You can structure your form by changing the form field's position based on the form you are creating. By default, the field labels are fixed on top of the input box. I will explain the effects each brings, and you can decide based on that.

  • Top : Your respondents will be able to see the field name and the label at a glance. They'll also be able to quickly move from the label and the input of the field. One disadvantage would be that it makes the form appear longer that it already is. 
  • Left : For shorter field labels, you can use this position. This does create strain for the users though, as they find it hard to match a label to its field.
  • Right : This position has less cognitive strain compared to the Left alignment as users easily know which label goes with which input box. This also serves as a good choice for shorter field labels. 
With both left and right alignments, the form size will appear smaller than the top positioned case we discussed above. One of the constraints is that when you are translating your form, the field label's length may or may not fit into the given space.   

The DON'Ts of field validation 

Ignoring sensitive data handling 
As you collect sensitive data (like social security numbers) from your respondents, you may need to perform  data encryption  to handle it securely. How is this helpful in securing the information? The data will be encrypted at your database level and will be encrypted in rest as well as transit. It will also be masked while printing or downloading. When you go to share it with others, whether through email notifications, PDFs, printing, downloading, document merge, or integrations, you will be prompted with an alert to question your decision. At this point you can decide on your actions. 

Ignoring personal data handling 
When you're collecting personal information from your customer—say an email address, phone number, bank details, etc.—in an Insurance Form, you can add an extra degree of sensitivity by marking it as Personal . Zoho Forms became GDPR compliant, allowing you to create more secure forms. It treats personal information as any information related to the directly identified/unidentified person. Similar to data encryption, you will be prompted with an alert if you go to share any personal information.  

Though field validations can be pretty easy for you to implement, they have a major impact on the user's experience. And, ultimately, aren't we always on the lookout for ways to provide an easy form-filling experience for our respondents? 

So try this out and let us know how useful you found it in the comments below—we'd love to hear from you! 

Until next fortnight, 

To get updated every fortnight on useful form tips, click follow under our community learning series.

                  Zoho Marketing Automation

                    Zoho SalesIQ Resources

                          • Sticky Posts

                          • Tip #2: Prefill forms automatically with existing Zoho CRM data

                            How to automatically prefill a form with existing Zoho CRM data? Prefilled forms can be useful when you want your prospects to view and confirm their data, and in a wide range of other situations. In Zoho Forms, we prefill the fields with the values from Zoho CRM using the Zoho CRM field. What is a Zoho CRM field? A Zoho CRM field acts as a two-way communication channel, by sending data to Zoho CRM from forms and fetching information from CRM into Forms. The field will look up data from your CRM
                          • Infographic - Design practices for high-converting lead generation forms

                          • Tip #4: Add related lists to Zoho CRM records using form responses

                            How to add a related list to new or existing CRM records using forms? Related lists in CRM ensures that all the data that is related is connected and easily accessible. For example a contact may have notes, attachments, activities, products, and other items associated with it. These make up a related list.   You can set up an integration to get this data using forms and automatically add it to the related list for a CRM record. There are two broad scenarios when you may need to do this: Adding a
                          • Add your brand logo to your forms

                            What's in a logo?  Everything. Imagine you're getting home after a tiring day at work, absolutely famished. Then you see the warm yellow glow of the golden arches in the distance, waiting to envelop you in its warmth. What else do you do but pull up at the drive-thru?  A brand is something familiar. It should give customers a sense of homecoming every time they decide to come back to it. With that in mind, a logo is the face of your brand. It solidifies your brand's presence with its potential to
                          • Tip #6: Add images, files and, signatures captured in forms to Zoho CRM

                            How to add images, files and signatures captured using forms to Zoho CRM?  Attachments in Zoho CRM can help give a deeper perspective into a particular record. When form entries are pushed into CRM, you can automatically send the attachments captured in the forms along with them. How it works  You can do this whether you are using the form entries to create new records in CRM or update existing records. The files captured with form fields will be added to the Zoho CRM record as attachments. You can

                          Manage your brands on social media

                            Zoho Pagesense Resources

                                  Zoho TeamInbox Resources

                                    Zoho DataPrep Resources

                                      Zoho CRM Plus Resources

                                        Zoho Books Resources

                                          Zoho Subscriptions Resources

                                            Zoho Desk Resources

                                              Zoho Projects Resources

                                                Zoho Sprints Resources

                                                  Qntrl Resources

                                                    Zoho Creator Resources

                                                      Zoho WorkDrive Resources

                                                        Zoho Campaigns Resources

                                                          Zoho CRM Resources

                                                          • CRM Community Learning Series

                                                            CRM Community Learning Series

                                                          • Tips


                                                          • Functions


                                                          • Meetups


                                                          • Kbase


                                                          • Resources


                                                          • Digest


                                                          • CRM Marketplace

                                                            CRM Marketplace

                                                          • MVP Corner

                                                            MVP Corner

                                                          • Word of the Day

                                                            Word of the Day

                                                                Design. Discuss. Deliver.

                                                                Create visually engaging stories with Zoho Show.

                                                                Get Started Now