I have to admit, I didn’t really think it was that revolutionary an idea. All I was trying to do was make the sign-up process a little friendlier and if web standards have taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing inherent in the presentation of any element, much less forms. So I made the form more conversational and less blocky and rigid.
Well, it turns out that people love it. I’ve received bucketloads of Twitter messages and emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed the sign-up process.
But amongst all the positive comments I saw about the sign-up form when Huffduffer launched, I saw some armchair UX practitioners wondering about the usability of this somewhat unorthodox approach to forms. Fair point. Without user testing, how can I really know if the mad-libs approach is really working?
If anyone knows anything about the usability of web forms, it’s Luke. He literally wrote the book on it.
Not content with simply expressing a liking for the Huffduffer-style of human-friendly form presentation, he decided to put it to the test with Vast.com:
After seeing the Huffduffer form in action, I was curious how it would perform against a traditional form. Would people be more inclined to complete it because of the narrative format? Or would the unfamiliar presentation format confuse people? Thanks to Ron Kurti and the team at Vast.com, I now have some early answers.
Ron and his team ran some A/B testing online that compared a traditional Web form layout with a narrative “Mad Libs” format. In Vast.com’s testing, Mad Libs style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40%.
That seems to be a statistically-significant result, even accounting for Cennydd’s reality-check on A/B testing.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend. If nothing else, it’s a way of getting designers to think about the presentation of common human-computer interactions, such as signing up to a new website.