Sometimes it’s the small things that count. Like auto-clearing form fields. Your website visitors are people: people with jobs, people with social lives, busy people. So filling in forms is not a task they want to spend a second longer on. And that’s where little time-savers like auto-clearing form fields are appreciated. Here’s what one travel booker said while filling in a search form on a site that didn’t have this feature.
I would have expected that to just clear as soon as I typed – as soon as I put my cursor in there. Instead, it’s in the middle of the destination that’s already in there. So I’ve got to actually delete that, which is a waste of time.
It’s all about performing the search task as quickly as possible. People aren’t interested in the search form; they’re interested in the results. And they want to get to them ASAP.
They’re used to auto-clearing destination fields on other sites. So they notice when a site doesn’t have this little time-saver. And it irritates them.
Now they have to manually delete the existing destination. Maybe it’s somewhere they searched for last time they visited. Or maybe they’re just checking prices to various different destinations.
Whatever the reason, they just want to click to clear the destination, and start typing a new one.
It’s easy to think that little time-savers like auto-clearing form fields are insignificant to the user experience. But you’ve got to remember two things.
Firstly, visitors are not dots on the analytics radar. They’re people. They’re people who want the information – like hotels in Budapest – in the quickest and easiest way. Filling in search forms is just a means to an end.
Secondly, visitors are used to time-saving features on other travel sites. Maybe your competitors’ sites. But they take these features for granted without noticing them.
That is, until they experience what it’s like without them – which explains the travel booker quote at the start of this post. He noticed when the auto-clearing feature was missing. And he made a point of criticising the site for wasting his time.
So think about ways to save people time when they’re performing unexciting tasks on your travel site – like filling in search forms. How can you get visitors to the information they want – the interesting stuff: the hotels, holidays, flight details – as quickly as possible?