Should your web form have a confirmation page?
Whether to have a confirmation page is a sort of religious debate. Most developers think this is an unnecessary feature of web forms. Most designers don’t like the look of it.
Don’t file this under, “David is old school and still uses Firefox.” I do have a couple important reasons behind my madness.
Confirmation Pages are Good User Experiences
Whenever someone goes to the trouble of filling out a form on a website, they want to do something. That might seem tautological but if they bother, it must be important.
I need to know the form worked
The worst web forms do nothing when they’re filled out. This makes me wonder, “Did anything happen? Did they get my message?” This give me a bad first impression of your business: I’m now anxious that you’ll contact me. If I have an immediate need for your services, I’ll continue to hound you until I get that confirmation. If I don’t need you right away, I might move on to your competitor for help.
Some web forms provide a confirmation message on the same page as the form. The problem is that sometimes the message is not visible as it’s hidden by the form itself. One solution: remove the form once it’s submitted.
This is why the best web forms, in my opinion, have confirmation pages. If I end on a confirmation page I am confident it “worked.” I’m confident that you’ll be with me shortly to help me with my needs.
Confirmation pages provide an opportunity
Sure, your confirmation page could just say, “Thank You.” That’s fine.
Then again, you could take advantage of your captive audience:
- What should a client expect when they talk with you? Give them a timeline or a next step: “We’ll contact you within 4 hours,” is reassuring.
- Provide an introductory video from you. Let them get to know you a little.
- Reassure your new, potential customers by providing a list of testimonials.
- Give me something to do while I wait on you. That might be links to other, helpful resources (in preparation for our call). It might even be fun.
Confirmation Pages are Easier to Track
If you want someone to fill out your confirmation page, you’ll want to track it. If you track your form you’ll know:
- Which visitors are better quality than not. Which visitors became customers, for instance.
- Which sources of traffic produce better quality visitors. Sure, Facebook might send a bunch of people but who cares if they don’t become customers?
- If you know the traffic sources that produce quality visitors you’ll determine which marketing efforts work. Perhaps more important: you know which marketing efforts are not.
Tracking is the best reason for having a confirmation page. Sure, you can track a form submission without a confirmation page. Those solutions can be more complicated and complicated solutions are prone to break. Complicated solutions are also more expensive as it takes development time to build them. I’m always in favor of the most simple solution.
I hope I’ve converted you to my old school ways. Maybe, next, you’ll reconsider Firefox.
This post was written by David Zimmerman, a consultant at Epic Notion and the founder of Reliable Acorn.