July 17, 2019 Form
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.
In this context interactive forms can be programmed so that the user can only tick/check one (known as a radio button as distinct from check-boxes), or presented with the options in a drop-down menu from which the user can only select one.
It is similarly annoying to them when it is a long free text box, making the customer question whether they are answering correctly and sufficiently. Providing response boxes that reflect the anticipated answer length and format reassures people that they are filling them in correctly.
A light shade of a colour, like blue, across the whole background of a form relieves the eye from the harshness of a stark white background. And if the answer spaces people have to fill in are white, the tinted background both cues them in to where they write, and allows them to visually sense how much they have to fill in.
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?
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.