Forms are at the very core of the checkout experience. This is the part where a shopper does the most ‘work’ on your site. While other parts of the page only require scrolling, clicking, and tapping, forms involve a lot of typing.
Sadly, a lot of shoppers approach forms with apprehension. Filling a form can be a time consuming error-prone exercise. Let’s take the example of a checkout form with the following entries:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Address line 1
- Address line 2
- Zip code
While the name fields, email address, address line 1 (street address), city, state, and zip code are always required, the rest vary a little. Site B might require a phone number and address line 2 (apartment number), while site X doesn’t. This inconsistency in what is required and what isn’t from site to site creates uncertainty among customers that needs to be clarified.
Take the second example of a credit card form. Fields like card number and the CVV code are required by all sites while others like the cardholder’s name are only required by some sites and not by others.
How to mark required fields
Some sites only mark required fields and leave the others unmarked while others mark optional fields and leave the required one unmarked. None of these implementations are ideal since there is no clarity and a customer is left to come to their own conclusions.
Other sites have instructions at the top of the form reading something like, “All fields are required” or, “Fill in all the fields unless told otherwise.” While this might seem alright at first glance, a customer may forget all about them by the time they get to the bottom of a long form.
The best way to go about this is to mark all fields, required and optional. The convention for marking required fields is the asterisk while optional fields are denoted by the word “optional” preferably in brackets (optional).