Disproving Best Practices: The One- vs. Two-Column Form Test

Disproving Best Practices: The One- vs. Two-Column Form Test

Author: Pamela Vaughan / Source: hubspot.com A few months ago, I took the stage at Digital Summit Dallas to talk about blog conversion ra

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A few months ago, I took the stage at Digital Summit Dallas to talk about blog conversion rate optimization (CRO). The session right before mine was led by Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner — a household name for those of us in the CRO industry. Needless to say, it was a tough act to follow.

In his session, “Frankenpage: Using A Million Little Pieces of Data to Reverse Engineer the Perfect Landing Page,” Oli shared lots of great data-backed tips for landing page optimization. In discussing best practices for conversion forms, he talked about how two-column forms weren’t ideal.

What’s the Beef With Two-Column Forms?

Oli isn’t the only one to frown upon the use of two-column forms. Baymard Institute, a usability research company, published this a few years back, and ConversionXL Founder Peep Laja has also asserted that one-column forms perform better.

Peep’s colleague Ben Labay even published a study about the superiority of the one-column form over multi-column forms. The study showed that users complete the linear, single-column form an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form. While speed is not directly tied to form completion, the data suggests that if the single-column form is faster to complete, fewer people will abandon it, garnering more conversions. It all boils down to user experience.

But Oli’s advice to avoid multi-column forms originally caught my attention because we had just redesigned HubSpot’s demo landing page, one of the most important landing pages on our website, and switched from a one-column to a two-column form in the process.

The thing that stuck out to me was that in switching to two columns, we had actually improved the conversion rate of our page by 57%. Now to…

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