UI/UX for wedding RSVPs!
September 21, 2012 11:17 AM   Subscribe

We’re doing online RSVPs for our wedding. Help me design the best-possible online RSVP system!

For our wedding, we’re going to send fancy paper invitations, but all RSVPs will be through an online form – the invitations will have the URL and instructions. The decision to go online-only is already set in stone and we have made arrangements to personally help the few invitees who are not computer-savvy, so any response questioning the wisdom of online RSVPs will be flagged with extreme prejudice!

I would hate to send out our invitations and then realize I’ve designed a bad RSVP system, left out key information, or created confusion among our users (ahem, “guests”), so I’m looking to the hive mind to help me with a) what system we should use, b) what fields should go on the RSVP, c) how it should flow, d) how to handle families who might RSVP for kids, and e) anything else.

a) What system should I use? Currently my plan is to use a Google Form, because then we’ll have a spreadsheet of the data that we can then control, sort, and do some data scrubbing in. The wedding website will have an RSVP link that will pop up the Google Form. I’m uncertain about the paid online RSVP service like http://www.weddingwindow.com - they look nice on the front end, but I’m worried that I won’t have all the options I want or that our information will be trapped in their system instead of exportable to a spreadsheet we can manipulate. But if there’s a hands-down awesome system that allows flexible input (radio buttons, drop-downs, and free text) and will allow me to extract the data to a common format (excel, CSV, Google Doc, whatever), I’d be willing to consider it.

b) What fields should go on the RSVP? Here’s what I have so far; do I seem to be missing anything?

Page 1
-Your first name
-Your last name
-Coming / not coming
--Branch: Coming leads to Page 2
--Branch: Not coming leads to Page 3

Page 2
-Standard “We’re sorry can’t make it blah blah” language

Page 3
-Dinner choice fields
-(optional) Guest first name
-(optional) Guest last name
-(optional) Guest dinner choice fields

c) How should it flow? As you can see above, there’s basically 3 pages: the “Enter your name and yes/no” page, the “sorry you can’t make it page” that it branches to for No, and the “Enter your meal choice and optionally your guest’s name” page. Everyone who is invited is allowed 1 guest, so including a place for 1 guest’s name won’t confuse anyone. (Google Forms forces a final Submit page, but there’s nothing I can do about that.) Any suggestions to improve the flow?

d) Families with kids: we’re inviting 4 families with kids young enough (i.e., grade school through high school) that we’re going to invite them as a family unit. College-age kids will receive their own invitations, but for these families with not-yet-college-age kids it seems more normal for the parents to RSVP for everyone. I have 2 ideas:

-In the Instructions, direct them to RSVP for 2 people then go back and re-RSVP for their family members until they have included everyone who’s coming. So for a family of 2 parents and 3 kids, that’s 3 RSVPs: 2 parents + 2 kids + 1 kid. This is confusing and would essentially result in several lines in the spreadsheet, but keeps the website simple for everyone else.

-Instead of a Yes/No for a guest, include 3 options: “RSVP for myself only, RSVP for myself and my spouse/guest, RSVP for myself and my whole family (3 or more attendees).” Then I’ll create a fourth page in the Google Form that’s similar to Page 3, but allows them to enter up to 5 “Guest” names and meal choices: Spouse/Guest, Child 1, Child 2, Child 3, Child 4. No one invited has more than 4 kids, so we know the maximum number of fields required. This seems like a nice user experience, but I’m worried it could create confusion. Will someone abuse it to try to invite more than 1 non-family guest? Are there other ways it might confuse people?

e) Anything else we should consider?
posted by Tehhund to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: My kingdom for an edit button:

-Instead of a Yes/No for a guest, include 3 options: “RSVP for myself only, RSVP for myself and my spouse/guest, RSVP for myself and my whole family (3 or more attendees).”

That should be:

-Instead of "yes/no" for attending, include 3 options: “Not coming, RSVP Coming for myself and my spouse/guest, RSVP Coming for myself and my whole family (3 or more attendees).”
posted by Tehhund at 11:26 AM on September 21, 2012


--Branch: Coming leads to Page 2
--Branch: Not coming leads to Page 3

You got that backwards, right?

This is really confusing.... You're having a hard time with it.

Why not just have them e/mail you and let you know who is coming?
posted by HuronBob at 11:53 AM on September 21, 2012

Response by poster: HuronBob: good catch, those branches are reversed. The good news is in my test Google Form I got the branching right, so I'm not too worried about that. I'm an analyst, the build and QA on this should be solid. And I'll be sure to get my groomsmen to test it out and report back.
posted by Tehhund at 11:57 AM on September 21, 2012

I think you are way overthinking this. Maybe put your energies into a fancy wedding website, but keep this simple? Even the tech-savvy folks won't want to click through 4 screens to RSVP for your wedding.

A Google form will be nice and easy. Have one page:

RSVP for Tehhund's wedding

1. Are you coming? (Yes/No) - Required question

2. If you are coming, please enter the name of each person who will be attending:
[Up to 5 fill-in-the-blank fields]

3. If you are coming, what is your dinner preference? [Multiple choice]

Thanks for your RSVP!
posted by chickenmagazine at 11:58 AM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

(Sorry, that should have been up to 6 fill-in-the-blanks, and I'd also include a text box at the bottom -- "anything else you want to tell us?")
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:06 PM on September 21, 2012

I agree with chickenmagazine that simplicity and one page only is the key (after submission you can have a "Thanks"" or "Sorry you can't make it,"). But it's good to be able to say which guest has which dietary requirement. (My partner is allergic to crusteceans, I've missed out on so much lobster/tasty fish (first world problem, I know).)

So maybe after each of the six fill-in-the-blanks for guests' names you can have a drop down menu with dinner preference for each guest (the default being no preference).

Went to a wedding recently with an online RSVP. They had fields for accommodation information and transport needs because the bride and groom booked a heap of cabs in advance for us and they passed our details on to the cab company (helpful as we don't speak the language so well and we speak even worse after a few drinks at a wedding).
posted by jujulalia at 12:16 PM on September 21, 2012

Response by poster: Maybe put your energies into a fancy wedding website - Good idea... but I'm already done with the website :).

Good feedback, I will remember to keep it simple. I would note that any guest who is responding will only see 3 screens max:

1) Coming / not coming (Page 1)
2) Meal choice & guest (Pages 2, 3, and 4, but they only see 1 of those pages, not all of them)
3) Submit (just has a single button)

However, I'll look at turning steps 1 and 2 into a single page with lots of spaces for names, so instead of 3 pages they only see 2 pages (big page with lots of fields + unavoidable Submit page)

They had fields for accommodation information - could you elaborate? Were they helping you set up your accommodations, or were they just asking you to enter your hotel if you already knew where you're staying?

Keep it coming!
posted by Tehhund at 12:20 PM on September 21, 2012

I like the 2-page idea, with a very clean/simple entry page. A lot of initial/unnecessary fields would stress me out. But no need to convolute your dataflow by having 2 separate "guest name" pages.

Page 1: [invitee name text field]

Page 3:
Guest: [GuestName1 Text Field] [Dinner option dropdown]
Guest: [GuestName2 Text Field] [Dinner option dropdown]
--Child : [ChildName1 Text Field] [Dinner option dropdown]
--Child : [ChildName2 Text Field] [Dinner option dropdown]
--Child : [ChildName3 Text Field] [Dinner option dropdown]

Unless you think you have untrustworthy guests who will try to bring other peoples' children, this should work fine.
posted by itesser at 12:34 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Page 2, of course, is for non-attending people)
posted by itesser at 12:35 PM on September 21, 2012

Do you have to design this yourself, or would you be open to using one of the many out of the box wedding website services out there?
posted by matildaben at 12:35 PM on September 21, 2012

Response by poster: matildaben, we already have a free website from theknot.com that will link to the Google Form. But I am definitely open to switching using a wedding website that allows online RSVPs if it meets our needs. I would even be willing to pay $20 or $30 for it.

Unfortunately, all of the ones I've seen online have very limited demos, so I'm unsure about signing up for them because I can't tell if they do what I want. So if someone can verify that there is a site that has the following features, I'm interested:

-Export RSVPs to a standard format (Excel, CSV, OpenDocument, Google Doc, whatever)
-Allows some logic (either make some responses required based on previous answers, or branch to a new page based on previous answers.
posted by Tehhund at 12:42 PM on September 21, 2012

I think GoogleDocs is your best bet for being able to customize the form and manage responses, so I'd stick with that instead of wasting time researching other platforms that aren't as good. (I have used GoogleForms quite a bit for work and for wedding plannng)

Depending on your audience and their ability to follow instructions, I would agree that less page branches is better. If you can keep it all to the same page, that would probably work the best. Imagining worst case scenario? Some people might think that the first page was all that was necessary, hit "Continue" on the Google form and then close out the window before realizing that there was a second page to fill out. (Similar to those types of folks who forget to fill out the back page of a test or survey)

I received one wedding RSVP where they didn't fill out their name, and it was only a one-sided card!

What do you think about using the "grid" question type for guest, age, and meal choice?

Also, would agree with leaving a final paragraph text box for anyone to leave you a nice note or any other comments.
posted by watch out for turtles at 1:30 PM on September 21, 2012

They had fields for accommodation information - could you elaborate? Were they helping you set up your accommodations, or were they just asking you to enter your hotel if you already knew where you're staying?

Sure, on their website they gave us all a run down of the closest accommodation near the venue and the contact details of hotels/b'n'bs with good recommendations.

If we knew our hotel or the village we were staying and wanted a cab booked they gave us space to fill out those details. Then when the couple booked hired cars/taxis they knew how many to book and the taxi drivers knew how many guests were going to village x or y. (As guests we paid the fares directly to the cab driver but it was much better than calling a taxi tohalf an hour into the French countryside.)

The couple used their online form to get numbers and details to orchestrate the whole thing. Pretty impressive really!
posted by jujulalia at 3:50 PM on September 21, 2012

I think your idea of a good online wedding RSVP and mine are a bit apart in terms of complexity, but perhaps it would nonetheless be helpful for you to see an example of one that's using Google Docs? If so, here's my good friends' site. I liked that it was all on one page and I also liked that there was a simple comment box at the end where people could add info as necessary.
posted by librarylis at 9:55 PM on September 23, 2012

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