When a form is designed, a list is prepared of all the items to be included on the form and the maximum space to be reserved. The list should be checked by the firm to make sure it has the required details:
- Form Title and Number:
The first consideration in the form design is a brief, descriptive title that tells us what the form is and what it does. Since we read from left to right and top to bottom, the upper left corner of the form is an appropriate place for a title. On forms, that goes outside the organization the title is placed in the centre at the top of the form. Long title should be divided. Good titles are often no longer than two words.
- Data classification and zoning:
All items in the form should be logically grouped. Then the data is placed in the appropriate zones. Thus"
Ø A form is divided into zones (zones represent a group of similar information)
Ø The zone uses Upper Left Corner (ULC) method
- Rules and Captions:
In designing forms, use rules (lines) to guide the human eye to read and write data groups. A caption is similar to column heading. It specifies what information to be written in the space provided rules and captions go together. Rules guides and separates whereas captions guides and instructs.
A form is designed with a combination of rules and captions. Rules can also be used to make boxes in which the users places data. The caption tells the user what information goes in a particular position.
- Box Design:
Whenever possible, it is advisable to design the form using the box design rule with captions in the upper left corner. The box design gets the caption out of the way. It also makes data entry interrupted from left to right.
- Spacing requirement:
In a form there must be sufficient space to allow for data capture. A most commonly used standard is 3/5 spacing. the 3 refers to the number of lines per vertical inch, while 5 refers to the number of characters that fit in one horizontal inch. There are times when the member of lines have to be maximum.
- Ballot box and check off design:
Using ballot or check off boxes for questions that can be answered by a "Yes" or "No" can greatly reduce the amount of required writing. The user indicates the preference by simply by checking off the desired box or placing a mark in the appropriate space.
- Form instruction:
A well designed form with clearly stated captions should be self-instructing. A form becomes self instructing by means of clearly stated captions and a brief procedural instructions.
- Paper selection:
Forma may be printed on papers of different colours, grades and weights. Coloured papers or coloured printing on white papers is used to distinguish among copies and facilitate sorting copies.
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