Improving event registration with user-centered design

Now more than ever, converting delegate sales is challenging and very last minute. Many potential attendees begin the registration process but abandon it before submitting the form and never return.

This growing trend may be due to poorly optimised registration forms. Below are four ways to effectively optimise the registration process for delegates and increase event revenue.

  1. Data tracking and analytics

The first step in optimising any form is to track current metrics.  It’s important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of registration forms. Small things could be limiting conversion of sales. These can range from confusing form titles, not adding enough space between input fields or having misleading instructions. Ensure to complete multiple tests with different users prior to launching the registration form to ensure effectiveness.

When initially setting up the event website consider installing analytical and data tracking software. Programs such as Google Analytics, Hot Jar, or SemRush are industry leading data tracking products available for websites.  When used effectively these programs can identify the strengths and weaknesses of the event’s registration process. They can track information such as key words entered to find the event website or how far someone progressed in the form before exiting.

  1. Keep registration simple

Typically, registrations for events are submitted through online registration forms. However, these forms aren’t always optimised properly for the best user experience (UX). Users today are time poor and cannot afford to go through long and extensive registration processes. Therefore, the goal for event managers should be streamlining this process as much as possible.

In an article from the ZDNET, they interviewed a well known online travel company, Expedia. The research showed most customers who selected the buy now button, never actually completed their purchase. Through data analysis, Expedia discovered users were confused by an optional field labelled “Company”. Many users believed this is where they needed to place the name of their bank. Which in turn led to their payments failing, and the company losing out on those sales.

Seeing this, Expedia removed that field and was able to increase sales by approximately $12 million dollars over a 12-month period.

  1. Optimising forms for mobile

Within the last decade mobile devices have become the most popular way people access the internet. Roughly 60% of all web traffic is through mobile devices. With such a high potential delegate pool, it’s important to optimise the registration process for mobile. Below are some UX tips to keep in mind for mobile users:

  • Use a single input field where possible. Instead of asking for a user’s first and last name in separate fields, just use one. This saves space on smaller screens and shortens the time it takes to complete the form.
  • Break up lengthy forms into steps or sections. This reduces clutter and psychologically makes users feel the form is shorter and easier to complete.
  • Limit the use of drop-down menus. Mobile screens aren’t large enough to properly display the information. A good alternative is a selection of radio buttons (provided there are less than five possible selections).
  1. Making your registration forms accessible for those with disabilities

The use of registration forms is an everyday occurrence and there could be some unforeseen challenges for those with a disability. It is becoming more and more common within the design industry to have more accessible forms for those with disabilities. Recommendations include:


  • Use contrasting colours. People with visual impairments can struggle with differentiating between a field that is or isn’t mandatory to complete.
  • Use auto focus. Auto focus is where the form will highlight which ever field the user selects. This is a great in combination with contrasting colours.
  • Use alternative text. Alternative text provides short descriptions of elements on the page to help those navigate and use different websites. This supports people with limited cognitive ability to use the text to speech option for more understanding.