Form design follows the process of analyzing forms, evaluating documents that are already present and creating new forms or improving existing or new documents. Purpose of the form is to communicate efficiently and effectively through forms design. There are some major requirements of forms :
- Identifying Syntax –
Purpose of form must be clearly defined by title of form. Columns and rows should be labelled or numbered so as to avoid any confusion. Form should also be identified by name or the code number which will make reordering easy if needed.
- Maximum readability and use –
Form should be easy to use and user should not face any difficulty in filling form. Appropriate writing space should be given so that inserting new data is easy. This also imply looking for appropriate space and balancing overall forms layout and its use.
- Physical factors –
The form’s color, layout should let themselves to easy reading. Pages should be numbered when documents with more than one page are to be generated for user.
- Order of data items –
The data requested should represent a sequence which must be logical. Related data should be in the same sequence on all the forms. Much of this design takes place in forms analysis phase.
- Ease of data entry –
If form is to be used for data entry, the form should have field positions indicated under each column of data
- Size and arrangement –
The form must be easy to fill by user. It should provide space for signatures. Important items must be in appropriate location or position in the form.
- Use of instructions –
The instructions on form should clearly describe how to use and handle the form.
- Efficiency considerations –
The form should also be cost effective. This simply imply removing unnecessary data that is not required and help to read lines across form. For example, if a poorly designed form causes 10 supervisors to waste 30 second on each form, then 5 minutes are lost because of form. If the firm uses 10, 000 of these forms per year, then 883 hours of lost time could have been saved by a better forms design.
- Type of report –
Forms design should also consider whether content is a summary, something between the summary as results (intermediate managerial information), or supporting-data. The user requirements for each type also sometimes indicate the final form of design.