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Playing the accordion

PMO Team,    12 Dec 2012
Playing the accordion

My heart sinks whenever I have to complete an online form. I hate to lean into my laptop for what seems like eternity, filling out a mundane form, squinting my eyes to differentiate between O and D in question 53A.

Online forms are often dismaying, especially the ones that mix irrelevant questions with the right ones. I also often get annoyed waiting for ages as the form loads and then frantically figuring my way through umpteen pages. And if you’re like me, you may be cursing the stars when the form displays the errors only after you hit “Submit.” Every user longs for more user friendly forms.

This is where Interakt’s expertise in user experience comes to the rescue. Our user experience engineers work hard to make every form, from the simplest to the most complex, easy for the user to complete. They focus on designing forms that deliver seamless transactions and enhanced usability. Our clients get to benefit from this too; after all, happy end users make the best brand ambassadors.

So, how does Interakt’s team achieve this? Their inspiration comes from, of all places, a somewhat old-fashioned musical instrument. Basically, they design forms with sections that, like the bellows of an accordion, open and close as the user keeps filling the fields. The accordion forms use dynamic interactions on a single web page to hide and reveal sections of related questions. This means the user can concentrate on one set of fields at a time without frantically navigating between different pages. By visually suppressing secondary actions, the accordion forms minimize errors and take significantly less time to load.

One Interakt client continues to reap the benefits of this innovative accordion form design. The client’s service transactions are data heavy, often requiring their service reps to collect, store, analyze, and monitor several parameters at a time.  The accompanying screenshot shows how Interakt turned one of their feedback collection tasks into a pleasant user experience.

blog-img-playing-the-accordion-details

The form allows users to click and see only the data they wish to see. They can fill or read these forms quickly and effectively because irrelevant sections remain hidden from sight.

Another accordion form developed for this client avoids cognitive overload by limiting the number of questions displayed and by using a proceed button. It also displays error messages within each section so the users can see and correct mistakes right away instead of after they have filled the form completely.

The client’s engineers were very pleased that the whole form completion process took less time and no longer seemed like an overwhelming task. The forms loaded faster even when access to the Internet varied across locations. Because of the success of these interactive and accessible forms, the client has extended the partnership with Interakt to design more user friendly, data-heavy applications.

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