Forms Design Check List
Note: Not all of these questions need be asked for every form
- What is the purpose of the form?
- Has the need for the form been clearly established?
- For all copies?
- Could the purpose be served by another document?
- Are there any statutory, legal or policy questions to be examined?
- Have all users been consulted about their needs and asked to comment or offer
- Official and public?
- Inside and outside the department?
- Who fills it in?
- If the information on the form is copied from some other record is copying inevitable?
- How is the form obtained or delivered?
- By post?
- From a public counter?
- Does it need a covering letter?
- Is an envelope essential?
- What figures about the use of the form are needed, e.g.:
- Quantity of past, current or future consumption?
- Extent of delay in use of the form?
- Incomplete or unreturned forms?
- Numbers of queries arising from incorrectly completed forms?
- Numbers of copying errors?
- Most frequent source of errors in completion.
- How long will the data remain unchanged?
- How frequently are changes likely to occur?
- Should changes in procedure or volume of work be anticipated?
- How is the form used by each person handling it?
- Are entries made with pencil, pen, typewriter or machine?
- How many copies are completed in one writing operation?
- How much folding is involved?
- Would particular features of the designs help arithmetical, sorting or selecting work?
- Would any special devices or items of equipment save work?
- What similar or related forms, documents, equipment, and machines should be considered?
- Forms or documents from which the original data is obtained?
- Ledgers, envelopes, files?
- General Service forms?
- Is the size or layout limited by equipment or machines?
- What information on the form is copied on to other documents and how often?
- What use is made of the copied data elsewhere?
- Is the sequence of data on the forms convenient for any copying or checking operation?
- How is the form filed and what equipment is involved or needed?
- What file reference is used?
- Is the reference conveniently located on the form?
- Easily read?
- Storage space taken excessive?
- Saving movement of staff?
- Have completed specimens of the form been examined?
- For convenience of size?
- Adequacy of entry spaces?
- Unnecessary entry spaces?
- What alterations to the wording are needed?
- Can entries be simplified by pre-printing?
- Is the quality of paper appropriate?
- For handling?
- For permanence?
- How long are the forms kept?
- Could the quality be reduced without impairing operations?
- Have any special working conditions been considered?
- Outdoor use?
- Eye fatigue?
- Dirty working conditions?
- Lack of adequate writing facilities?
- Do the forms need to be kept in better condition?
- How are stocks of the form produced?
- Could the form by redesigning be made to serve other purposes?
- Would the use of carbon paper reduce writing and recording at any stage?
- Could words and printing be removed from the form?
- What can be done to simplify the appearance?
- What refinements can be eliminated to reduce cost?
Design and Layout
- Are loose-leaf sheets, sets, pads, or bound books needed?
- Could any refinements be eliminated to reduce production costs?
- Colour printing? Precision printing? Gumming? Ruling?
- Carbon sheets or coatings?
- Is the size appropriate for associated machines, files, envelopes, sorting and other equipment?
- Has adequate allowance been made for margins (printing, binding etc.)?
- Is the form of a standard size—or a size approved by H.M. Stationery Office?
- Have the working conditions been adequately catered for?
- Is the demand for material extravagant? (e.g. card instead of paper).
- Have all the available methods of producing copies been considered?
- Have tests been made with the right carbon and copy paper?
- Does the heading or title of the form make its purpose clear and self evident? Could it be made briefer? If further identification is necessary what is the most effective marking?
- Would the use of colour assist sorting and other operations?
- Would printed symbols, numbers, patches, or coloured labels provide an equally effective method of identification?
Notes and instructions
- Have the notes been classified and grouped to aid comprehension? Could they be reduced by omitting less essential matter? Is the wording simple and clear for all classes of user?
- Are all general notes grouped together and instructions about entries placed alongside the entries? Has the need for reference to footnotes or notes overleaf during entry been minimised?
Questions and entry captions
- Is the wording of questions concise and clear?
- Would the pre-printing of likely entries help?
- Have inconsistent methods of recording answers been avoided?
- Does the style and range of sizes of type used give the needed relative emphasis to the items of the form?
Layout and style
- Is the layout convenient for entry and subsequent operations? To facilitate a logical sequence of thought? To group related entries? To minimise machine movements?
- To facilitate copying, comparing and checking? Would ‘tumbler’ printing help arithmetical work? Can cross addition be simplified by staggering totals? Can entries be placed on the edge to facilitate summarisation by overlapping forms? Would shading, stippling etc. help? Are reference entries easy to identify?
- Would a window envelope save work and reduce the risk of error?
- Have folding marks been provided on the form where suitable?
- Does the form contravene any current Post Office regulations?
- Has the form been tested with the users in all working conditions?
- Have all technical and supply matters been cleared with the printers?
- What special requirements should be brought to the notice of the printer?