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Improving business forms

The local government for which I work is adopting a new computer system. As a result we will be designing new paper business forms for the public — applications for a license, receipts, permits, etc. This seems like an opportune time to improve the forms for clarity and efficiency for many years to come. (These forms are often adopted without much thought and are used unchanged for a decade.) I am familiar with much of the design literature referenced by participants in this forum, and will certainly utilize much that I have learned. However, I have not seen any literature specific to this type of mundane but ubiquitous business form. Suggestions?

-- Peter Morelli (email)

Guidelines and standards for the physical form aspects that stray into some design aspects: - these are implemented via customised training in the use of supporting Adobe Pagemaker templates and standard graphic object libraries. In my experience, given this as the way to construct a form, the hard bit is the testing, development and evalaution cycle& methods used, skills & resources involved. Happy to dicuss with others interested in instruments for collecting statistical data from (primarily) businesses - incl 'e-forms, CATI, IVR etc) RoB-B

-- RoB Burnside (email)

I am grateful that I work at a company small enough that I was able to print out every single form in the company and form a team that could evaluate every single one line by line. Imagine the weekly meetings, the reams of paper, each scribbled with notes and deletions and wishlists, which I then lugged back to my desk and revised and revised... it was a several month long project, but the payoff has been tremendous. A larger company, or a few more years of bureaucracy, and it could never have been done. What I would love to see is every form be evaluated critically before it becomes implemented and imbedded in the system- I have to ask everyone over and over "Do we need this? Can we just add a field to an existing form? Who uses it and what for- what are the users going to need from it?" etc.

-- Rebekah Villon (email)


-- Niels Olson (email)

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