Consider your audience when employing mobile forms

There's a great deal of excitement in many industries today about the prospect of using mobile form software to speed up everyday tasks. For a wide variety of people inside and out of organizations, whether they're full-time employees or just consumers paying a visit to a business' website, forms on tablets and smartphones can make a great way to collect information from people and store it as usable data that can be tapped into later.

Companies are therefore eager to learn the ins and outs of mobile forms, finding the absolute best possible ways to use the technology for optimizing their operations. What's the best way to gather information without alienating any users, losing any valuable bits of data or experiencing any technical hiccups that may disrupt the process?

There are a lot of great strategic ideas being thrown around, but according to Prialto Post, one of the best pieces of advice is to know your audience. If you consider who your respondents are, you can get inside their heads and better understand how they expect to navigate and use mobile forms.

"Be conscious of your audience - who they are, where they are and what they do," the source advised. "Get to know your respondents' context. For example, does your business only serve people in the U.S., or do you also have international customers? A Canadian customer might get frustrated with an order form that doesn't list Canadian provinces until she changes the country at the very end of the address section."

Little twists like this can make all the difference. The source also pointed out that wasting people's time with inefficient technology is a recipe for disaster - if people feel like they're being taken for granted, they're likely to abandon forms altogether.

In addition, Prialto Post noted, knowing your audience is important because it helps you think about the accessibility of your forms. For example, a great many people these days are using their mobile devices to access their favorite websites, and if your audience falls into this category, it's important to optimize your forms to fit their needs. Even seemingly tiny differences, like how difficult it is to access a drop-down menu or click a radio button, can be hugely influential.

Designing the best possible mobile forms requires a great deal of critical thinking. Ideally, you're able to balance the needs of your own business with the tastes of the consumers you target.

Cal Brown