What Your Submit Button Can Tell You About Your Form

Form Optimisation

When you think about analysing the performance of your form it can be tempting to focus solely on field performance. After all, capturing data is the aim of your form. So it makes sense to assess those fields where people input data.

But this only tells part of the story. Failing to analyse the performance of your submit button is a mistake because it can reveal useful user experience design insights you won’t get from examining other fields.

In this article we explore the power of submit button analytics.

Doing the Form Analysis Basics

If you have a form you’re probably carrying out some kind of form analytics. And, when your form exists to capture information, it makes sense to look at the fields where data is gathered.

Many of our customers look at the basics, such as how many form visitors they get, how many people start the form and how many complete it. They usually also assess the performance of each step in their form to identify whether particular sections have higher drop-off rates than others.

If you do some or all of this, you’re part of the way there. But failing to assess what’s happening when people hit the form submit button can lead to a hole in your understanding of your form’s performance.

Button Up Your Submit Button Performance

Conducting specific analysis into what happens when people try to submit the form can reveal a lot about the user experience design.

Submit buttons are built in such a way that users can only complete the process once they have completed the form correctly. If certain parts of the form have been missed or completed imperfectly, it simply won’t submit.

Source: Form Craft

This failsafe mechanism makes sense: for example, you don’t want someone buying goods without submitting their credit card details accurately. Being able to identify when this form mechanism has been triggered is extremely useful as it tells you something in your form isn’t helping users.

Perhaps your form is in an unusual order and your CSV field is easily missed. Or maybe there’s a tiny tick box to accept your T&Cs that’s hard to target and complete. Whatever’s happening, form analytics can reveal the fields that pose your users the greatest challenges.

Mapping Your User’s Journey with Form Analytics

Aside from submit buttons, it’s valuable to understand what else happens between users starting and completing your form. Reporting on something as simple as how many times the submit button is clicked can be revealing.

Imagine your form has 1,000 visitors and 750 completions. Does that mean every visitor started the form and completed it perfectly step by step with just 250 people facing challenges (or another reason) that caused them to leave? Not necessarily.

Form analytics can reveal the total number of times your submit button has been clicked and compare it to your conversion rate. In this example, if your submit has been clicked 850 times for 750 conversions you can tell that some people have experienced challenges in completing the form.

This will have resulted in three possible outcomes:

  • Your user abandoned the form without making any amendments
  • Users have responded to the error message by correcting the relevant field(s), hit ‘submit’ and completed
  • Your user made changes, hit ‘submit’ and found further errors causing them to:
    1. abandon the form
    2. make more corrections before re-submitting

Source: Stack Overflow

Understanding how many people actually click the button in comparison to the number who started the form can identify user experience design problems. Forms that fail to submit may indicate that:

  • there are too many fields to complete so people have tried skipping necessary fields or do not feel comfortable providing particular information
  • that there’s a lack of clarity over which fields are required and which are optional
  • errors have been made when completing fields and users are unaware until they try to submit

By assessing the performance of your form submit button you can begin to unravel the challenges in your wider form design by asking questions like:

  • when the user gets an error message is it clearly displayed on the screen?
  • does the page automatically scroll back up to take the user to the location of the error?
  • is it even clear to the user that there’s an issue with the information they’ve provided?
  • is inline validation being used effectively helping users correct data as they complete the form?
  • are users given the options they want at this particular stage of the form?

This last question is clearly demonstrated at the checkout on Tesco’s online shopping platform. Once you finish your shop and go to checkout you’re presented with the contents of your basket.

The checkout button is clearly visible on the right. However, if you want to buy anything else, the placement of the ‘continue shopping’ button means that – with more than four or five items in your basket – you would need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen.

Source: Tesco

This kind of button placement is frustrating for customers and could lead to an abandoned cart. A simple change in button placement could be the difference between a customer popping another item in their basket and checking out or leaving your form altogether.

Submit Button Design

Sometimes the submit button itself can be the cause of your form problems. One item that could impact the usefulness of your submit button is the copy you use. Try different words like ‘next’, ‘go’, ‘find’, ‘continue’ as these might drive different conversion rates. In the example above, Tesco have used ‘continue checkout’ in line with this approach. Avoid ‘buy’, ‘submit’, ‘purchase’ and ‘buy now’ as they have a sense of finality to them which can discourage users.

Button size can also be challenging for some users. Smaller buttons present reduced targets which can be difficult to hit first time. Increase your button size and you may see a smaller number of failed attempted clicks. This is also something that advanced form analytics platforms can measure and report on.

Form analytics software provides you with the insights into submit button data that helps you uncover potential problems and their solution. Armed with these insights you can make the relevant changes to your form with the aim of reducing the ratio of clicks to equal the number of submissions.

image representing average form conversion rate uplift from using Formisimo From 0% to 24% Form Conversion Uplift Get the insight that increased form conversions by 24% (and rising)
Latest Insight
Improving Insurance Forms Reviewing the top 31 insurance forms