File Under: HTML, UI/UX

Using ‘Mad Libs’ to Make Web Forms More Fun

In an ideal world, the web would have a built-in identity solutions — websites would automatically know who you are when you arrive. In the real world, however, almost every website has its own sign up and authentication process, endless forms enticing you to enter your name, your e-mail, pick a password… yawn, what now?

It’s repetitive, boring and makes many of your users click away in disgust. But what if you turned the sign up form into a narrative, something a bit like a Mad Lib?

That’s exactly what web developer Jeremy Keith has done for his podcasting site, Huffduffer. Instead of a list of blank boxes, Huffduffer’s sign up form looks like this:

All the usual behaviors of a web form are still there. You can tab between fields, your password is still masked and errors are highlighted if there are any. The difference is the in the presentation. It doesn’t look like some kind of online test.

In short, Huffduffer’s sign up for is refreshing, but does it work? Well, Luke Wroblewski, Chief Design Architect at Yahoo and author of the book Web Form Design, had the same question and, with some help from the team at Vast.com, ran some tests.

The designers at Vast redesigned their response forms along the lines of Huffduffer’s form and found that, as Wroblewski reports, “Mad Libs style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40 percent.”

The forms are live on both Vast and the Kelley Blue Book website if you’d like to experience them yourself. Wroblewski has a few minor caveats about the increased number of users — be sure to check out his post for the complete details — but at least in some cases it would seem that a narrative flow trumps the boring old form.

See Also: