After only two years, Typeform, a Barcelona-based startup, has revolutionized the concept of forms through the User Experience. I speak with Robert Muñoz, co-founder, to learn more about this innovative startup.
On many occasions, innovations don’t come from a planned analysis, but arise by chance. Five years ago, Robert Muñoz worked in a digital agency when a client asked them to design a 3D project and one section had to contain a contact form. In those times, the HTML language didn’t let them do what they wanted (nice typographies, navigation with animations, new and mobile-friendly elements to collect data…), so they resorted to Flash.
This first contact with the world of online forms piqued their curiosity and, after running a market research, they discovered two important things: all companies in the sector used old fashion elements and none of them took into account User Experience.
Dan Perkel, design researcher at IDEO, described Typeform in an article as “human-centered surveys” and I think he hit the spot in what really distinguishes them from other tools like Google Forms.
Typeform applies User Experience with a twofold purpose: increasing completion rate, and making possible for anyone to easily build an online form. Interestingly, this user-friendly approach has led “typeforms”-as they call their online forms- to become also marketing tools.
Thanks to a visually-appealing design and features that make possible to add images, backgrounds or videos, Typeform users have turned what would have previously been boring forms into games, presentations, marketing campaigns and even landing pages. As Robert explains, “respondents sometimes don’t even realize that they are entering data”.
In online services like this, the user’s role as an agent of innovation and continuous improvement is basic and, therefore, it’s important to identify new uses and trends. An example is the feature Calculator. The Typeform team realized that some users (a lot of them students and teachers) tried to do quizzes and they needed some kind of scoring. This led them to prioritize this feature.
Typeform observes and analyzes their users in various ways. One is through surveys (could not be otherwise) addressed directly to the most active users, where they are asked if they would recommend the tool to other people and why. The Customer Support also plays a key role categorizing questions, suggestions and comments.
One of the biggest surprises along the interview has been to know that Twitter is one of their main tools to discover new uses. The URL of their online forms includes the word “typeform.” Thus, Robert explains me that through the Twitter search engine they can easily identify all those tweets in which users share typeforms. In fact, it’s possible to find them even when the URL has been shortened.
Although users often surprise us with their wit, in most cases, companies have to encourage and help them to use correctly and explore all the features of their services. In general, users who ask for help when there’s a problem or who express their discontent are a minority. So, how can user engagement be improved?
Typeform is currently in the process of implementing user intelligence tools for web businesses, such as Intercom, to capture user actions while using the platform. Knowing which users don’t use certain features or haven’t created any survey, they’ll be able to contact them through small tips or messages to guide them.
Beyond this, the next big project of Typeform is, in the words of Robert, “universalizing the typeform format” through the release of a public API that will allow developers to programmatically generate typeforms. Who knows what fascinating uses may arise from here.