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How to Design Forms

Design tips to help you create professional and functional forms

How to Design Forms
Tip 1: Provide instruction

Provide clear and concise questions on your forms to let form fillers know what they need to fill in. Similarly, if you want your forms completed in capitals and black ink, and returned by a specific date, let form fillers know.

Provide a check list at the start or end of your forms to help ensure form fillers do everything you request.

How to Design Forms
Tip 2: Maintain identity

Design your forms so they match or compliment the look of other business documents. Include a company logo, and your corporate colours and fonts.

How to Design Forms
Tip 3: Divide and conquer

Position related information in its own section to help form fillers navigate your forms more easily.

Example: Incorporate name, address and telephone number fields within a Contact Details or Personal Details section.

How to Design Forms
Tip 4: Keep it short

Form fillers are more likely to complete your forms if the amount of information requested is kept to a minimum. Similarly, minimal fields and concise questions are also likely to improve response rates.

Despite this, never make your forms so minimal that form fillers are left wondering what to do.

How to Design Forms
Tip 5: Consider space

Leave adequate space for form fillers to complete your forms.

Example: Don’t expect a form filler to tell you their life story if all you leave is enough space to accommodate a sentence or two.

Similarly, don't waste space on a page by leaving too much room for questions that require minimal response.

Example: Don't leave a whole line for a date of birth.

How to Design Forms
Tip 6: Number content

For complex and multi-page forms consider numbering questions and fields. This will help form fillers keep track of their progress, and will allow you to quickly find and extract the information you require.

How to Design Forms
Tip 7: Add intelligence

Make your forms "intelligent" by using form elements such as checkboxes, radio buttons, combo boxes, date boxes, and calculation boxes.

Example: If two or more values supplied by a form filler need to be added together, integrate a calculation box to do it automatically.

All these form elements will help form fillers avoid mistakes and complete your forms quickly and easily.

How to Design Forms
Tip 8: Consider DTP rules

Try to follow basic Desktop Publishing (DTP) rules when designing your forms. Click here to view them now.

How to Design Forms
Tip 9: Return to who?

Make sure form fillers know where and how to return your forms or the content they contain.

Include a postal address, email address, or a delivery mechanism like an email button or post to database button.

How to Design Forms
Tip 10: Accessibility

Make certain your intended audience can view and complete your forms.

  • If your audience doesn’t have Internet access, don’t use an online form.
  • If users are unlikely to have a pen available, don't use a paper form.
  • If your audience doesn't have access to a computer, don’t use an electronic form.

Combining multiple solutions will help maximise response rates.

You can design electronic or paper forms quickly and easily using InForm Designer. Click here to find out more and try for free!

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