Why ‘Mobile First’ Makes Sense for Online Form Design

Woman using a tablet.
At home, at work, or in transit, people turn to their mobile devices for countless uses.

Online forms are a fact of life for millions of people.

Whether they’re ordering pizza, applying for a mortgage, or completing business “paperwork,” they’re as likely to be doing so using a phone or tablet as any other way. One recent survey found that in 2016, 57% of web visits arrived via mobile, a figure that jumped to 63% in 2017! Desktop environments will always have their advantages, but for everyday use people increasingly turn to mobile.

You have probably heard of the “mobile first” philosophy, wherein businesses design their web properties first and foremost to appeal to mobile users rather than desktop users. The reasons for this are clear. If you’ve ever had to use a company’s regular website on your phone, you know what a hassle it can be. Mobile form design doesn’t prevent you from appealing to your desktop environment users, but doing it the other way can cause problems with a large chunk of the population.

People Carry Mobile Devices Practically 24/7

People check to see that they have their phone just as religiously as they always have checked for their wallet and keys before leaving home. And at home, they’re just as likely to have their phone or tablet within reach. When people need to get online and can do it with the phone or tablet they have at hand rather than moving to their desk, they’ll use the convenience of the mobile device.

When you make your online forms – whether for customers or employees – mobile-friendly, you make things far more convenient than if you don’t. Particularly when it comes to customers, making things convenient and free of any sort of “friction” (like having to pinch or zoom pages), you endear yourselves to them.

Mobile to Desktop Beats Desktop to Mobile

When you design your online forms with a mobile-first approach, taking those mobile-friendly forms into a desktop environment is easier than trying to shoehorn a desktop-only form into a mobile-friendly format. You may, for example, design your online forms to be brief, with plenty of drop-down menus, radio buttons, and check-boxes so that people aren’t forced to type significant amounts from an on-screen keyboard. You may have information that is entered once, and then automatically routed to any matching form fields on other necessary forms to prevent duplication of effort. Porting these conveniences over to the desktop environment makes things easy on desktop users too, and they’ll appreciate it.

Users Want to Minimize Typing in Any Environment

If form fields lend themselves to multiple-choice data entry, you should provide this option, especially for mobile users. Choosing “red” from a list is faster and easier than typing “red” into a blank, and there are no worries about users typing in something that doesn’t make sense. Allowing customers (or employees) to create a user account containing their basic information makes it easier for them the next time they place an order or fill out a field service report form on mobile. And none of these niceties takes anything away from the desktop experience, despite the fact that desktop environments are more conducive to typing.

“Mobile first” may have seemed radical several years ago, but it makes perfect sense today. At home, at work, and on the go, people use their phones and tablets to do things that once required the use of a desktop computer. With the right online form software, you can make all your online forms mobile-friendly and desktop-friendly at the same time.

PerfectApps is form software with a friendly user interface that allows you to create customized mobile- and desktop-friendly forms simply by dragging and dropping elements in to place. Furthermore, you can customize online forms with your chosen colors, fonts, styles, logos, and other elements. Because PerfectApps facilitates the creation of mobile-friendly online forms, it makes perfect sense for your business, your employees, and your customers. Want to learn more? PerfectApps invites you to watch our demo video. It only takes a minute to see why mobile-friendly online forms make business work better.