19 July 2007 | Tanya Goodin

Customers prefer longer forms

was surprised to learn, during a recent round of
usability testing I was doing on four popular insurance websites, that
the participants clearly preferred to complete a long detailed quote
application form vs. a brief application form.

The reason behind it is that participants were suspicious
of short forms, assuming that, if they had not given all the detail they would
normally expect to be asked, they were not being given the lowest possible or
most accurate quote.

There are several
lessons that come from these results, two are:

1. Customers have expectations based on previous experiences, make sure you know them and meet them

Shorter forms or fewer clicks are not always necessarily the best
solution. This goes against most best practice beliefs. The only way to
know without debate is to do a quick test with current or potential

Every website or product is unique, so
you need to generally follow best practices, but you also need to test it on
your target market. Every test brings you valuable knowledge and useful
information that will increase your conversion and give your customer a more
satisfying experience.

— Kimberly Byers

Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar