Pre-fill where at all possible. If a person has already filled in a form for your organisation they will be frustrated if they have to fill in the same information again. It is difficult for organisations to get their systems to pre-fill known information but when pre-filling is achieved, customers really feel valued.
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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).
Use appropriate response mechanisms. Paper forms have the disadvantage that users can miss, or simply disregard, an instruction. For example, only tick/check one box from a list of 15 or 20 options.
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.
Customise response boxes to reflect required answers and reduce completion errors. If asking for a persons date of birth, it makes sense to provide a box with the exact number of required digits and an example or guidance note to explain the format that the date should be entered in (DD/MM/YYYY).
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