Part of White Night Melbourne 2018 (February) was a membership drive utilising our website member join form. White Night runs from 7pm to 7am, when people carry their mobile, not a laptop. Completing the old join form on a mobile was a poor experience. I drew upon HTML5 for Web Designers and Mobile First to come up with improvements to the join experience. I designed four changes intent on making it easier to complete the form via mobile devices. It was a thrill to see this first iteration implemented in time for the event.
- The old join form
- Improvements to form input operability
- Select a default that matches most users
input type="tel"for a phone number
- A checkbox and validation for SMS opt in
- Outcomes result in a superior joining experience on your mobile
The old join form
There were 17 fields in the old join form including Country selection which defaulted to Australia. To complete the old form, Australians were to fill out 9 required fields, and 7 optional fields. There was no default value selected for State. Choosing your state was required for all Australians despite that 90% of the registrations were Victorian.
A phone number was a required field. A separate field asked for a mobile number if you wanted to receive SMS notifications of items ready for collection. If you wanted membership renewal notices, you had to type your email address twice.
Poor experiences completing the old join form on mobile
On a touchscreen device, the phone and email inputs did not provide helpful keyboards to enter details easily or accurately. For instance, entering a phone number mandated an additional tap to switch to a numeric keys. The 10 digit buttons across a narrow screen are small touch targets. It was even harder to enter an email address like
firstname.lastname@example.org After typing the initial letters, you’d have to switch:
- to numeric keyboard for the @ symbol
- back to enter more letters
- again for every full stop “.” character!
Then the form asked people to confirm your email address, so do all that tapping and switching all over again!
From July to December 2017, analytics reported that completing the old form on a mobile took over a minute longer than on a desktop.
Completing the old form on a mobile was a poor experience that took too much time. This presented a significant barrier to our membership drive. The mobile form improvements sprint was on!
Improvements to form input operability
Collaborating with our developer I set out to make mobile form improvements that would result in a superior joining experience.
Select a default that matches most users
With 90% of Australians choosing Victoria as their state, it made sense to pre-populate this as the default selection. Setting this as the default reduces the effort for the majority of users. It also maintains the same number of interactions for interstate or international visitors.
input type="tel" for a phone number
By changing the HTML input type to “tel” it becomes easier for mobile users to operate a familiar, large button dial keypad to enter their phone number. Additionally, autofill options appearing above the dial pad only need one tap to input your entire phone number.
A checkbox and validation for SMS opt in
Internal data showed when members opted in for SMS notifications, we don’t need a secondary phone number to contact them. Instead of a second phone number for SMS notifications, I changed the design to one phone input and a checkbox. I worked with our developer to create validation code. When the SMS notifications checkbox was checked, validation checks the phone number is in the format of an Australian mobile.
By changing the HTML input type to “email” it becomes easier for mobile users to operate a keyboard with an @ symbol, and common .com and .au domain extensions available from a long press on the full stop key. Like phone, email autofill options require just 1 tap. Furthermore, the HTML5 input type=”email” provides basic email address format validation in all modern browsers, not just on mobile. I used all this as a compelling argument to remove the Confirm your email address question.
Outcomes result in a superior joining experience on your mobile
We changed the doctype to HTML5, made a handful of code tweaks, and tested via BrowserStack and on real mobile devices too. Then our developer deployed the changes just in time for the weekend event. Thank you Troy!
In the 6 weeks leading up to deployment, desktop devices continued to reign with 74% of form completions, while mobile had less than 18%. Over the weekend of White Night, nearly 50% of forms were completed on mobile devices.
In terms of time taken to complete the form, this release leveled the playing field across devices. The new form saves mobile users 94 seconds. These mobile form improvements also made the desktop experience faster. Throughout 2017, there were 22,704 join forms completed. If last year’s registrations all used the new form on mobile, we’d save 593 hours!
This year’s event was a trigger to embrace mobile form improvements. These improvements make it faster to complete, easier to fill out, and provide more accurate data. The design principles underpinning these changes persist beyond White Night. No matter where or when, completing the form on your mobile is now a superior experience. The design shift set us on a course for future iterative developments of member registration and innovation in onboarding processes.