Did you know you could be losing many users when they see your form for the first time? How they perceive your form on the first impression is everything. If it looks intimidating and they have no obligation to fill it out, they’ll likely opt out.
You can make your form less intimidating on the first impression by marking optional fields instead of required fields. When users see required field marks on nearly every field, they’ll perceive the form as complicated and time-consuming. A cluttered form demands more cognitive processing from users. Each additional element requires extra cognitive effort.
However, when you only mark optional fields, the form looks cleaner with fewer elements and less cognitive processing. As a result, the user will perceive the form as friendly and are less likely to opt out.
Many designers tend to use red asterisks to mark required fields. This approach is detrimental because it gives users the false impression that an error occurred when it hasn’t. Even if you opt for something less alarming like tagging every label with (required), it still looks cluttered and intimidating. Putting too many elements near your fields leads to perceived visual complexity. Visual complexity leads to users leaving your form.
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