We often get requests to build cumbersome processes all in the name of ‘making sure our visitors give us all the information we need.’ These take the form of exceptionally long forms with a large number of required fields, jumps out to secondary forms that need to be completed before the initial form is filled in, etc.
I frequently find myself asking the same question over and over: “If you landed on a page that made you do all of that, would you do it or leave?” I find it is a great question to use to guide your web strategy. Sadly, it’s also a question many never stop to ask.
There is nothing wrong with testing response to different forms, different layouts, varying amounts of questions, etc. We encourage every client to implement a multivariate testing approach that allows you to find the sweet spot between too much, and too little, information. In such a program, exceptionally long, or multipart forms may well prove to be acceptable to a particular audience. However, starting with overly complicated processes as the default is typically a recipe for disaster.
If you are considering a new initiative or a new design, look at every wireframe, mockup, or sketch and ask yourself if you would want to interact with your site. Take a moment to think through the process flows, forms, and anything your users will be asked to interact with. If you would not want to complete these tasks, you probably need to rethink your approach.