Insurance comparison sites necessarily have long forms, designed to gather as much information about you as possible in order to provide you with an accurate quote. Laborious, yes, but I believe they could be made easier to complete. That’s why I’ve reviewed Go Compare’s car insurance quote form:
The signup form
Getting an insurance quote on Go Compare starts with setting up an account. There’s good and bad to this. Registering an account will be handy for retrieving quotes later on but might cause drop offs if users don’t want to have their information saved.
If a large proportion of people are dropping off here Go Compare should remove this step or postpone account signup until later in the process.
The form itself could be improved in the following areas:
For each field there are tooltips, giving additional explanation for each question.
The first step is to fill in your name. The tooltip says “We need your personal details so we can guarantee your quotes are accurate.” Presumably what they mean is they need to identify you on various external databases. The trouble is that I’ve presumed that, I don’t know it for sure which introduces an element of doubt. Doubt causes worry which causes dropoffs.
The explanation given for requiring your date of birth is much more clear, “age is a rating factor”. This tells me my age is directly related to the quote I’ll get.
Tooltips are used throughout the form and can provide helpful additional information but are often overstuffed with text. Explanations could be more condensed to make them more readable.
Validation and error reduction
Users must fill in their email address twice. The second field should be cut as it slows users down and isn’t that effective at preventing errors as it’s designed to be. Most guidance on the subject says that users don’t like to repeat themselves and very often copy and paste the first field into the second, repeating any error they’ve made.
Luke W suggests “displaying people’s input as output elsewhere in the form” e.g. saying “We’ll send your quotes to firstname.lastname@example.org” in several places. This would highlight any typing error back to the user in a friendly way and doesn’t create extra work for all users.
The second email field fails again for usability because it doesn’t validate as I input information, it only validates it once the user clicks ‘Continue’. Yet another reason to get rid of it altogether.
Reassurance and dark patterns
Underneath the ‘Continue’ button Go Compare include a lot of text. This is also where you’ll find a pre-checked checkbox allowing Go Compare to share your contact details for marketing purposes. Placing this below the call-to-action means lots of users might miss it. This is known as a dark pattern and is designed to trick users.
The most visible thing in this block of text is the SSL certificate. SSL certificates indicate that data is transmitted securely, which is reassuring, but it might form part of the dark pattern, reassuring users so well that they don’t read the fine print.
Comparison form: First impressions
My first impression of the form is that it’s long and boring.
The lack of visual flair makes the form seem longer but it’s not altogether densely packed, there are several positives:
- site navigation has been removed to eliminate distractions.
- the form is set over five steps and there’s a progress indicator.
- headings break up the page.
- labels are above the form fields, making it easy to associate between the label and field.
- buttons stand out, looking nice and clickable.
Still, it could be easier on the eye.
Radio buttons and checkboxes
Go Compare use many radio buttons and checkboxes. Happily they are marked up well, with each question marked up in a label and easily associated with it’s corresponding options. In the image you’ll see the source code for the question “Are you a homeowner?”, along with the radio button options “Yes” and “No”.
Radio buttons and checkboxes can be difficult for users with accessibility problems to interpret. This is less of an issue on a site relating to car ownership but it’s good to see them written up properly.
Check that your forms are accessible by reading WebAIM’s guide to Creating Accessible Forms.
What Go Compare didn’t do is pre-select any of the dropdowns or radio buttons. They could improve the user experience if they did.
Pre-selecting multiple choice options has several benefits such as:
- It confirms that an option must be chosen. If no option is pre-selected users could believe they don’t have to make a selection and so later prompt an error on the form.
- It relieves some users of a task. By pre-selecting the most popular option you save time and effort for the greatest number of users.
Go Compare may have chosen not to pre-select options for fear of suggesting that option. This is something I would A/B test, checking the rate of corrections and conversions for the current version against pre-selecting options.
The ability to search for the car you want a quote on is a bonus.
Rather than enter all the car details manually they are pulled through by looking up the registration number. This saves time, effort and reduces the risk of error.
Users are also given the opportunity to manually enter information if anything needs correcting.
Comparison details, Step 2 – About you
This form starts with one of my greatest annoyances, the Title dropdown, a superfluous bit of information. Even Go Compare, with all their tooltips, can’t explain why they want your title and marital status.
Perhaps these things are rating factors too but they’re not telling? Read our blog post on gender neutral options in webforms to understand why questions like this should be treated with sensitivity. If form questions can’t be explained then they should be cut.
And those aren’t the only questions that could be cut from the form, there are others with no tooltips to explain their relevance to your quote:
- Are you a home owner?
- How many children do you have?
- How did you hear about us?
“How did you hear about us?” is a classic marketing question. Go Compare could be losing conversions by pursuing marketing data.
Unclear instructions, Step 3 and 4
Users have to give your phone number in step 3 of the form. It will be used to let insurers contact you with their quotes. You don’t have to let them contact you but you do have to give your phone number in order to proceed to the part of the form where you can opt out. This is far too complicated, users who want to opt out might forget to or struggle to find where to do it.
The form was inconsistent in its instructions too. I thought that optional fields were labelled and, by the power of deduction, that all other fields were required. This wasn’t so though as I discovered the question “Where did you hear about us?” was optional but not marked as such.
In the final step users have to create a password. The field has a strength indicator and the tooltip gives users instructions for creating their password. These are complicated though by their length and by a clause. It says the password must not contain special characters, which I would have missed if I didn’t read carefully.
Go Compare, go elsewhere
There’s several ways to improve Go Compare’s car insurance form:
- Add design elements that draw the eye through the form.
- Rethink the copy to reduce the need for long tooltips and make instructions clearer.
- Test pre-selected radio buttons.
- Add in-line validation.
- Remove questions that don’t have bearing on generating a quote.
- Assess the use of dark patterns.
Form analytics, session replay and a/b testing would almost certainly reveal ways to improve this form.