Mandatory form fields are sometimes just greedy

Posted on Aug 31, 2013

I cancelled my subscription for a website, and received a survey from their “head of customer service” asking me to fill in a survey to let them know why I had cancelled so they could improve their service.

Fair enough.

So I started to fill it out.

I had no particular love for this company, so as a gesture I thought I would let them know my reasons for cancelling, but was not prepared to spend too much time on it.

The problem I realised as I filled it in was that all their form fields were mandatory. They wanted me to give them indepth information about why I had chosen to cancel, and what would convince me to come back. The survey was a maximum of 15 questions.

I frankly couldn’t be bothered to spend more than 1 minute providing feedback, and because I couldn’t proceed to submitting the form without filling in all questions, I gave up and closed the window.

= UX fail

Suggested improvements

If the company had encouraged me to fill in all questions without making them mandatory then they could have collected some information about me, and why I had chosen to cancel, which they could have used to improve their service. However, with the misuse of mandatory form fields they had nada.

The moral of the story is that websites need to think carefully about what is actually required, and the nice to haves are. If you can gather just the basic data you require, require being the key word, and ask for the rest, without the fields being mandatory then they will have at least some data rather than nothing at all.



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