Web forms are omnipresent in our digital world, from simple search engines like Google, to multi-step client intake and payment forms used by businesses worldwide.
The concept of forms is simple: they’re webpages with boxes we can type into. But while they may seem straightforward, designing web forms that generate successful conversations can be challenging. People don’t want to share information or answer questions through a form whose aesthetics are poor, instructions are unclear, and overall experience is missing the mark.
Mitigating these issues is extremely important for law firms—because effective web forms have the power to optimize your client intake process.
But how do you implement web forms that people will actually fill out? That’s where Legalfit can help. From understanding your target client base to creating clickable buttons, we’re here to discuss important tips you should know about creating web forms that work.
Web Form Best Practices for Law Firms
While there are many tools we can use when creating a web form, there are two key practices: understanding your audience and allowing for customized forms according to the area of law.
Understanding Your Audience
This may be an obvious one, but it’s paramount. The first step in crafting any effective web form is understanding the clients you’re seeking to serve. Invest time in researching and gathering insights about your target audience. This will help you understand their needs, preferences, and pain points.
Customizing Your Forms for Different Practice Areas
Once you understand the audiences you serve, use that knowledge to build different forms based on the various practice areas you offer. Different legal services may require distinct information, and customizing the forms accordingly will help guarantee that clients receive relevant and proper guidance from the get-go.
For example, a basic contact form on a general practice firm’s website may ask site visitors (prospective clients) to give their name, phone number, and general details about their case. A person looking for help drafting a will may be confused when they’re met with a field that instructs them to “Describe your case.” But someone seeking defense representation for a criminal charge probably wouldn’t think twice about how to complete that section of the form.
More Tips on How to Make Forms That Work
So far, we’ve discussed best practices that are specifically key for law firm websites. The following tips are more general for content, but they are still relevant and important for curating a positive user experience for your digital visitors.
Keeping Things Clear and Simple - Simplify the aesthetics of your web forms by avoiding clutter and unnecessary fields. Use concise and accessible language in your instructions to minimize confusion and maximize completion rates. Taking these steps will make the layout look clean and more appealing to those who are looking to reach out to you.
Utilizing Required Fields With Intention - The fields you include will depend on the goal of your form. For an initial intake form that’s intended to capture leads, identify the essential information required for this stage so that you don’t overwhelm (or annoy) users with too many mandatory or unnecessary fields. Also, whenever possible, use field types such as dropdown menus and checkboxes to enforce consistent data entry. This will help your firm’s team avoid headaches caused by inconsistent input.
Making It Flow Easily - Always tune into the conversational nature of forms and let that guide your structuring. Organize the fields and questions in a logical order. Ask expected questions before more atypical ones. Prioritize less intrusive queries before delving into more personal or detailed information. After you’ve built it out, ask someone—ideally someone who’s never been a legal client before—to look at it and tell you if any questions gave them pause. Use their feedback to finalize your form’s wording and organization.
Writing User-friendly Buttons - Imagine someone in need of legal help. They come across your site and get excited at the chance to work with you. They write up the details your form asks for, then they forget to send it to you. Because they overlooked the “Submit” button.
Don’t lose potential clients to ineffective buttons. Write clear, action-oriented button labels that guide users through the process ("Send Message," "Contact Us," "Sign Up"). To implement visually appealing buttons that stand out on the page, consider using contrasting colors and appropriate fonts and sizing to make them easily clickable.
Addressing Errors and Validations - Oftentimes, people looking for legal assistance are already stressed about something in their lives. Sharing their contact information with their potential attorney shouldn’t add more weight.
To make your site visitors feel more at ease, set up clear and non-aggressive error messages to aid users in correcting their input on your forms. Highlight the specific fields that require attention and provide helpful instructions on how to rectify the errors. Any follow-up messages should be friendly yet professional to acknowledge their successful form submission.
Considering Mobile User Experiences - With the majority of internet users accessing the web via their phones, it's crucial that your web forms are responsive and adapt well to different screen sizes. It all goes back to keeping things clear and simple—make sure your form fields, buttons, and instructions are concise and easily readable. These traits will keep their clickability consistent across cell phones, tablets, and screens of all shapes and sizes.
Craft Effective Communication With Your Clients
The art of crafting effective web forms is a critical skill in today's digital landscape, and it holds particular significance for law firms seeking to optimize their client intake processes. By implementing these practices, you can create web forms that are usable, responsible, and—most importantly—capable of bridging the gap between your services and the clients who need them most.
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