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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.

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