Published by Ronn Haynes at Sunday, November 26th 2017 05:11:25 AM under Form
Well designed forms result from an appreciation of the role they play in an organisations interaction with people. Organisations have a responsibility to minimise the burden forms impose when gathering information from people. Form length does not directly correlate to complexity. Many assume that making forms shorter makes them easier to complete. Though shorter forms might be cheaper to produce initially, if the reduction in content results in user confusion, the cost of resolving completion errors form fillers make as a consequence can significantly outweigh any initial savings. In general forms do need to be as short as possible, but never at the expense of clarity and usability.
Make structure clear, and provide navigation to reinforce it. Your form will be divisible into sections so think about the broad groups of questions being asked. Whatever your groups of questions are, make sure they follow the right order and give the groups clear section names. Make the form sections visually distinct by setting the section name in bigger and bolder type, and consider including a contents list on the first page or screen to help people navigate their way through the form. Also make sure that you make good use of features like running headers and footers on every page to remind people what the form is, where they are, and what page number they are on.
Provide examples and guidance and notes at the point of need. Have you ever got half-way through a form and suddenly come to a question that asks you about something you do not understand or have no idea about where to find the answer? Its even more infuriating if the question says something like. See our Guidance notes, page 6, paragraph 2. When filling in your forms people want the information they need there and then. Put yourself in the form users position and think about which questions they might have a problem with. Provide examples of the sorts of answers you are looking for, and where appropriate, provide guidance notes as near as possible to the question they relate to (i.e. in the actual form).