July 17, 2019 Form
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).
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.
Use colour strategically. Colour in forms should be used with care - but used well it can really aid form completion and navigation. In general, yellow, for example, is a colour to avoid as much as possible - text set in yellow on a typical light background can be very hard to read - and people can find yellow aggressive.
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.
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.
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.
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