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Monday, January 26, 2009

Forms for Rudd Government new projects

I see from the weekend edition of the Australian Financial Review that the new Rudd Government is starting to introduce new projects such as the Dementia Services Pathways Project.

Like all such projects, it will have business forms as part of the services it provides, especially in this case as it involves not just people with dementia, but their carers and service providers.

Given the huge number of errors that occur in data collected on government forms as a result of poor design methodology, my hope is that the Department of Health and Ageing and the company that undertakes the project will consider the needs of the end users.

As I've said numerous times, there is no need for forms that collect bad data.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old fashioned form design

Over the past few years I've been acquiring numerous old books on office management and especially forms management and design for my archives. Some go back to the early 1900's.

This week another arrived—a little more recent—published almost 40 years ago.

Skimming through it I found that it was a great book for its time, but it drew my attention to the fact that most forms I look at or download from various web sites don't look any different in style to what is in this book.

When are form designers going to learn that old methods of layout have proven to lead to massive data entry errors?

Forms researchers have learned a great deal in the past 15 to 20 years, so its about time they brought their knowledge up to date. Our web site has a lot of information in the Free Literature area. There's even more information in my book "Forms For People: designing forms that people can use", which is available from us or in the USA from the www.BFMA.org.

I'm currently working on a new textbook that deals with public-use forms in even more detail and shows how user errors can be dramatically reduced.