Top 10 Form Design Tips
Form Design Tip 1: Consider accessibility
There are a number of ways you can present your forms to your intended audience Ė online, on paper or electronically. If your audience doesn't have Internet access, donít use an online form. If you want to keep your carbon footprint to a minimum, donít use a paper form. If your audience is unlikely to have access to a computer, donít use an electronic form. Combining multiple solutions will help maximise response rates.
Form Design Tip 2: Keep it short and sweet
Users of your forms are more likely to complete them if the amount of information you request is kept to a minimum. Similarly, concise questions and minimal fields are also likely to maximise response rates.
Form Design Tip 3: Maintain identity
Forms are like any other business document and should therefore include a company logo, together with your corporate colours and fonts.
Form Design Tip 4: Follow the rules of DTP
There are Desktop Publishing (DTP) rules you should try to follow when designing forms. Click here to view them now.
Form Design Tip 5: Leave space
The amount of space you leave for users to complete your forms should reflect the questions you are asking. Donít expect a full postal address to be filled in if the space you provide will only accommodate a house number and post/zip code! Similarly, don't waste page real estate by leaving too much space for questions that require little response, i.e. a whole line for a telephone number.
Form Design Tip 6: Number content
Consider numbering questions and fields contained in complex, multi-page forms. Not only does this help the user keep track of their progress, it also allows you to quickly find and extract the information you require when the form is returned.
Form Design Tip 7: Divide and conquer
Packaging associated information into its own section will help users navigate your forms more easily. For example, incorporate name, address and telephone number fields within a Personal Details or Contact Details section.
Form Design Tip 8: Use checkboxes, radio buttons and combo boxes
If questions on your form can only ever have pre-determined answers (like Yes and No, or Red, Blue, and Green), checkboxes, radio buttons and combo boxes should be used. These form components will help to ensure only valid answers are completed.
Form Design Tip 9: Provide instruction
Providing clear and concise questions on your forms is essential for letting users know what they need to fill in. Similarly, if you want your forms completed in black ink and capitals, returned by a specific date, and signed and dated, let users know. Providing a check list at the start or end of your form helps to ensure users do everything you want them to.
Form Design Tip 10: Return to who?
Forms are useless if users donít know where to return them! Make certain your forms contain either a postal address, email address, or an automated delivery mechanism like an email button or post to database button.
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