Relationship of Number of Form Fields to CompletionRate

13 Jun 2008 - 5:01pm
6 years ago
3 replies
463 reads
Caroline Jarrett
2007

From: "visual hokie" <visualhokie at gmail.com>

: Does anyone have (or can point me to) any data, research, or articles that
: demonstrate the relationship between number of form fields and completion
: rate?
: Thanks!
:
: brian

Hi Brian

I don't know of any specific research on this problem in the forms arena. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence around - just ask
anyone, frankly.

For example, in a recent thread on this list http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=27398 "Sign-up experience" there was some
discussion of the pleasure given by a short, simple sign-up and the annoyance caused by a very long one.

But I don't know of much in the way of hard facts. It would be great to hear of anything published - let's hope someone else on the
list knows.

The survey methodologists have looked at the problem of lower response rathers when there are more questions on a questionnaire, a
closely related area. I'm away from my library at the moment but I'm fairly sure that Dillman would cite the relevant literature.
Most recent edition:
Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2007 Update with New Internet, Visual, and Mixed-Mode Guide (Hardcover)
by Don A. Dillman (Author)

Another thing to think about (I don't know of the context of your question) is that although sheer volume of questions is definitely
an issue, the relevance of those questions and the strength of the user's interest in the topic are very important as well. There
is, believe it or not, such a thing as a form or questionnaire that is too short - one that fails to ask the questions that the user
considers should be asked in the context of the overall purpose.

Best,
Caroline

Caroline Jarrett
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
07990 570647

Effortmark Ltd
Usability - Forms - Content

We have moved. New address:
16 Heath Road
Leighton Buzzard
LU7 3AB

Comments

14 Jun 2008 - 7:49am
Todd Moy
2007

Looking back at it, any answer you uncover is going to be very situation
dependent. It probably won't be broadly applicable.

There might be a weak correlation between form fields and completion, but
not in the sense that "increasing fields by 'x' will tend to result in 'y'
dropoff." You would also have to factor in incentive to complete, difficulty
of answering, and so on.

My taxes, for example, have a lot of fields and are relatively difficult --
yet have a 100% completion rate*. Conversely, I'll abandon a short form that
asks for information that I think they don't need (and my incentive to
complete is low).

-Todd

* Completion rate meaning that I complete all that are relevant to me, not
all fields possible.

On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Caroline Jarrett <
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk> wrote:

> From: "visual hokie" <visualhokie at gmail.com>
>
>
> : Does anyone have (or can point me to) any data, research, or articles
> that
> : demonstrate the relationship between number of form fields and completion
> : rate?
> : Thanks!
> :
> : brian
>
> Hi Brian
>
> I don't know of any specific research on this problem in the forms arena.
> There is plenty of anecdotal evidence around - just ask
> anyone, frankly.
>
> For example, in a recent thread on this list
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=27398 "Sign-up experience" there was
> some
> discussion of the pleasure given by a short, simple sign-up and the
> annoyance caused by a very long one.
>
> But I don't know of much in the way of hard facts. It would be great to
> hear of anything published - let's hope someone else on the
> list knows.
>
> The survey methodologists have looked at the problem of lower response
> rathers when there are more questions on a questionnaire, a
> closely related area. I'm away from my library at the moment but I'm fairly
> sure that Dillman would cite the relevant literature.
> Most recent edition:
> Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2007 Update with New
> Internet, Visual, and Mixed-Mode Guide (Hardcover)
> by Don A. Dillman (Author)
>
> Another thing to think about (I don't know of the context of your question)
> is that although sheer volume of questions is definitely
> an issue, the relevance of those questions and the strength of the user's
> interest in the topic are very important as well. There
> is, believe it or not, such a thing as a form or questionnaire that is too
> short - one that fails to ask the questions that the user
> considers should be asked in the context of the overall purpose.
>
> Best,
> Caroline
>
> Caroline Jarrett
> caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
> 07990 570647
>
> Effortmark Ltd
> Usability - Forms - Content
>
> We have moved. New address:
> 16 Heath Road
> Leighton Buzzard
> LU7 3A
>

17 Jun 2008 - 7:19am
visual hokie
2007

Caroline,
Thanks for the thoughtful response! I suspect that the context of form may
play a greater role than number of fields. Applying for a loan vs. Sign in
to an instant message program.

Thanks for the lead on survey research!

b v

On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Caroline Jarrett <
caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk> wrote:

> From: "visual hokie" <visualhokie at gmail.com>
>
>
> : Does anyone have (or can point me to) any data, research, or articles
> that
> : demonstrate the relationship between number of form fields and completion
> : rate?
> : Thanks!
> :
> : brian
>
> Hi Brian
>
> I don't know of any specific research on this problem in the forms arena.
> There is plenty of anecdotal evidence around - just ask
> anyone, frankly.
>
> For example, in a recent thread on this list
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=27398 "Sign-up experience" there was
> some
> discussion of the pleasure given by a short, simple sign-up and the
> annoyance caused by a very long one.
>
> But I don't know of much in the way of hard facts. It would be great to
> hear of anything published - let's hope someone else on the
> list knows.
>
> The survey methodologists have looked at the problem of lower response
> rathers when there are more questions on a questionnaire, a
> closely related area. I'm away from my library at the moment but I'm fairly
> sure that Dillman would cite the relevant literature.
> Most recent edition:
> Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2007 Update with New
> Internet, Visual, and Mixed-Mode Guide (Hardcover)
> by Don A. Dillman (Author)
>
> Another thing to think about (I don't know of the context of your question)
> is that although sheer volume of questions is definitely
> an issue, the relevance of those questions and the strength of the user's
> interest in the topic are very important as well. There
> is, believe it or not, such a thing as a form or questionnaire that is too
> short - one that fails to ask the questions that the user
> considers should be asked in the context of the overall purpose.
>
> Best,
> Caroline
>
> Caroline Jarrett
> caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
> 07990 570647
>
> Effortmark Ltd
> Usability - Forms - Content
>
> We have moved. New address:
> 16 Heath Road
> Leighton Buzzard
> LU7 3AB
>
>
>

17 Jun 2008 - 7:41am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

The survey literature does contain some studies that examine the
number of questions and the density of questions and there is a
moderate relationship between the number of questions and response
rates; however, as Caroline notes, motivation and other factors play a
role. There is some discussion about surveys that are too short being
perceived as not worth the time so it is possible to be too short.

There is a fair amount of research on perceived usability -- when
people see a page, form, or survey, what are their perceptions of
usability and complexity. I'm at the UPA conference and away from my
reference database, but will check when I return. Although Dillman
backs off a bit in his later editions, in his first edition of his
survey book, he discussed Exchange theory (developed by a number of
social psychologists including Homans, Blau, and Thibaut & Kelley) and
noted that people need to consider effort, motivation, and credibility
in the design of a survey (and a survey is a special type of form).
Exchange theory would predict that minimize unnecessary effort,
providing motivation (intrinsic & extrinsic), and imcreasing
credibility, are things that should be consider when you want to get
people to respond to your survey or form. For example, don't let
people think about what format to use for a credit card number -
provide a format to reduce effort and avoid errors. Exchange theory
is one of the more powerful theories that govern how people interact
with people as well as how people interact with computing system.

Chaunc

On Fri, Jun 13, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Caroline Jarrett
<caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk> wrote:
> From: "visual hokie" <visualhokie at gmail.com>
>
>
> : Does anyone have (or can point me to) any data, research, or articles that
> : demonstrate the relationship between number of form fields and completion
> : rate?
> : Thanks!
> :
> : brian
>
> Hi Brian
>
> I don't know of any specific research on this problem in the forms arena. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence around - just ask
> anyone, frankly.
>
> For example, in a recent thread on this list http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=27398 "Sign-up experience" there was some
> discussion of the pleasure given by a short, simple sign-up and the annoyance caused by a very long one.
>
> But I don't know of much in the way of hard facts. It would be great to hear of anything published - let's hope someone else on the
> list knows.
>
> The survey methodologists have looked at the problem of lower response rathers when there are more questions on a questionnaire, a
> closely related area. I'm away from my library at the moment but I'm fairly sure that Dillman would cite the relevant literature.
> Most recent edition:
> Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method 2007 Update with New Internet, Visual, and Mixed-Mode Guide (Hardcover)
> by Don A. Dillman (Author)
>
> Another thing to think about (I don't know of the context of your question) is that although sheer volume of questions is definitely
> an issue, the relevance of those questions and the strength of the user's interest in the topic are very important as well. There
> is, believe it or not, such a thing as a form or questionnaire that is too short - one that fails to ask the questions that the user
> considers should be asked in the context of the overall purpose.
>
> Best,
> Caroline
>
> Caroline Jarrett
> caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk
> 07990 570647
>
> Effortmark Ltd
> Usability - Forms - Content
>
> We have moved. New address:
> 16 Heath Road
> Leighton Buzzard
> LU7 3AB
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

Syndicate content Get the feed