Required But Necessary? Best Practices in Form Design
Nobody likes forms, which is why - as a SAM admin - you should strive to make your forms as user-friendly as possible. Forms should also serve as a reflection of your process and have a clear purpose and logical design.
With that in mind, let's talk about required fields.
SAM has a ton of options when it comes to making a field required:
Require a field universally (ex: every Child record needs a birth date)
Require a field on a form (ex: every Application needs a contact email)
Require a field conditionally (ex: If "Divorced" is checked, require "Divorce Date" field)
Our help guide here details how to setup each option.
Requiring a field is a great way to ensure you get the information you need. It's also an easy way to annoy the person filling out a form. This is why you should be clear why and when a field is required to move on.
For example, do you really need to require a full mailing address on an inquiry form? You might want to save more detailed information for the Application. Then again, if a family checks that their preferred contact method is snail mail, consider making the address field conditionally required by that answer. Now you're getting fancy - and ensuring that answers given on forms are logical.
Like we mentioned in our last post, forms are trust-building opportunities between your agency and clients. So if you do require information, particularly sensitive information, use the areas above the form or the field hint to explain why this information is needed and how it will be used.