A Gravity Forms sidebar lets boost engagement, drive traffic, and create experiences that users love.
The trouble is, it hasn’t always been easy to add a sidebar to your site. In fact, it was almost impossible for someone without in-depth coding skills to include a clear summary or sidebar in Gravity Forms – and getting experienced developers to build you a custom version for your website tended to be a pricey option.
Then, along came the release of Gravity Forms v2.5, which killed off some of the most popular ‘sidebar hacks’, which made it even more difficult.
In this moment, Live Summary for Gravity Forms was born. The plugin offers a simple way to add and customize a sidebar in just a few clicks.
Let’s explore the business benefits for you and your users when deploying a Live Summary sidebar in Gravity Forms.
A sidebar for gravity forms creates user-centred experience
User-centred design focus on building experiences. It’s a core principle of product design, so you might already be familiar with the concept. Essentially, it’s about identifying why users have come to you, and how your site (not just your products and services) can help them achieve their objectives. Everything – literally everything – is crafted around users.
And there’s good business sense in taking this approach. The stats show for every $1 invested in UX has an ROI of between $2-100. And just consider, 88% of online shoppers are less likely to come back to a site after they had a bad experience.
So what do they really want from your site?
- Intuitive process
- Frictionless experiences
The internet is a billion flashing screens, all screaming for attention. Who has time to parse that sort of data? So, users are drawn to the simplest, purest, easiest sites. You know yourself – who hasn’t hit ‘back’ hard the moment a website throws a dozen pop-ups, without a clear-cut design flow or visual hierarchy? You get lost, so you go back.
Users don’t want to think or learn how to use your site. They just want it to be obvious. That’s the reason every online store mimic Amazon in some way; why the design of every search engine could be described as Google-esque. We create our own unique spin by drawing on what’s familiar for our users.
Don’t get in the way of your users. They know what they want and why they’ve chosen your site. You just need to help them find what they need. The more blockers you put in their way – from pop-ups to convoluted processes – the more risk they’ll leave your site and head for a competitor.
And that’s where Gravity Forms sidebars can help improve how users use your site.
Reasons for using a Gravity Forms sidebar
1. Improves communication and navigation
Communication is critical for users. It helps them know what’s going on, what they need to do, and how they need to do it. Sidebars offer a better way to communicate with users. And that delivers more effective site navigation.
If you’re running an ecommerce site, a relevant sidebar like Live Summary for Gravity Forms can help shoppers view everything in their basket while filling out the order form (without forcing them to exit the process to amend or check the details). And they know exactly what action to take to complete the order.
2. Reduces on-screen clutter
The digital landscape is already pretty overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean your site has to be. Adding a sidebar for Gravity Forms lets you deliver just the right amount of info, without distracting users or wasting valuable screen real estate.
Another good example of this would be if you use a multi-page form. So, you might use a sidebar to display previous user responses (assisting that all-important comms and navigation, right?). But it also lets your site visitors see their progress and overview without throwing every piece of content at them all at once.
3. Adds extra content and calls-to-action
When you include a Gravity Forms sidebar on your site, what you’re really doing is adding an extra area dedicated to additional content. One of the big things every website dev wants to avoid is confusing users. Leaving them adrift. Directionless.
Calls-to-action are a great type of content to engaged users. A summary box, for example, lets an ecomm store direct users to the next steps, from ‘Place order’ to ‘Book now’.
You can also use general contextual sidebars – ones that change based on what your users are doing or where they are – like the ones on the blog. They let readers easily jump to recent posts and specific categories. You might want to use sidebars to showcase your latest offer, product, service. Whatever it is, it’s a way to get eyeballs on your site’s most important messages.
How to add a sidebar for Gravity Forms?
If you want to place a sidebar on your own site through Gravity Forms, there are two main ways to go about that.
As a developer, you can pretty much start modding Gravity Forms right away to achieve the desired results. It may take a bit of time and work, but it’s possible.
But if you’d prefer not to hack your way through Gravity Forms to get a sidebar, you can use Live Summary to add a sidebar to any Gravity Form. The plugin, which is designed to be simple to use, offers everything from multiple field types and all supported currencies to broad customisation options to hit your business branding needs.