1. Single page donation forms

All information fields are placed on a single page.

Diagram showing all sections on a page

The good:

  • there’s only one submit button to press
  • a single URL gives access to all form fields
  • it doesn’t force a fixed order of completion
  • you benefit from context of neighbouring sections
  • progress is self-evident

The bad:

  • long forms can be overwhelming and off-putting
  • it’s less well suited to branching or non-linear flow
  • how do you save partial progress?
  • can be harder to track analytics like drop-off rates
  • making validation errors usable is harder

2. Multi step form

The information fields are broken down into smaller steps as donors are directed through a series of pages.

Diagram showing each section on it's own page

The good:

  • it’s easier to handle branching and dependencies between questions
  • it’s easier to let the user save progress
  • a transaction can feel more manageable
  • easier to guide a user through an unfamiliar process
  • easier to capture analytics like drop-off rates for each section

The bad:

  • harder to show progress
  • uers have to click more to progress through the questions
  • you lose the context of neighbouring questions
  • you need to build a seperate page to review and edit questions
  • doesn’t naturally handle non-linear processes like looping, adding and removing

3. Accordion donation form

All information fields are placed on a single page, but each new question only appears once the previous section has been completed.

Diagram showing an accordion form

The good:

  • can handle branching and dependencies between sections
  • users can review and edit previous questions at any time
  • can help guide a user through an unfamiliar process
  • user still benefits from some surrounding context
  • progress is clear

The bad:

  • Implementation and interface is more complex

Done well, option 3 is a hybrid of the other two that has benefits of both the other options. Within this hybrid option there are still some important design decisions to make. For example:

  • Will future questions be shown in any way or will you only see the questions you’ve answered?
  • What happens if you go back and edit a previous question?
    • Does the current question stay open or closed?
    • How do you get back to the current question once you’ve edited a previous one?
    • Do you lose all your answers to questions that follow the one you go back to edit?

4. Hybrid

For more complicated transactions, some combination of the other options might be your best bet.

Diagram showing a hybrid transaction

Again, done well this can give you the benefits of both the single page and wizard approaches. It also allows you to create a sense of rhythm to the overall flow, which can help people to understand when they have moved into a different part of the transaction, and break up the monotony of filling in forms.

As always, these design decisions must have a strong, user-centred rationale behind them. Choose a structure for your donation forms that most naturally fits the way people need to use them.