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The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms

formsthatwork.com
See www.infodesign.com.au, and www.formsthatwork.com, for information and links on usability and forms design.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 111-113 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:28:11
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Usability testing involves having a representative user attempt to complete the form.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 104-105 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:27:32
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a partial solution is to have an extremely brief description with a link to further detail,
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 98-98 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:27:11
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Ambiguity Ambiguous terms and words are often surprisingly difficult to spot. Usability testing is the best way to uncover them.
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Be consistent not only within an individual form, but between the form and any other material.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 87-88 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:26:20
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In forms, unnecessary jargon can be particularly problematic because the jargon often exists in isolation.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 82-83 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:26:03
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Jargon Unnecessary jargon is the enemy of communication.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 81-81 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:25:56
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Once questions become more complex, or open to misinterpretation, or in some way unusual, a more fleshed-out question, perhaps with explanatory text, may be appropriate.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 73-74 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:25:45
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When writing a preamble, then, there is one key fact to keep in mind: Some people will not read it. This means that if there is any genuinely crucial information, the preamble is not the place to put it.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 54-56 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:24:19
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Preamble Many forms have a preamble. It will typically provide some context for the user. For example, it may describe the purpose of the form, the use to which the information gathered will be put, and any prerequisites.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 50-52 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:24:05
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A good appearance is supported by the use of a clear grid. Without this, forms look messy and amateurish. Good contrast is important, as is a font that is conservative and not too small. These will help not only older and vision-impaired users, but all users. Visual consistency is important. If you decide to use colons after field labels, use them everywhere. If you settle on Initial Capitals, Use Them Everywhere. Having a good visual or graphic designer work on the form will help present users with something that looks crisp and professional.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 40-44 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:23:32
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Good conversations also require that the questions you ask can be understood by the user, and that a response is possible. We will return to the topic of questions shortly.
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Second layer: Conversation A form is a medium for conversation. The form enables you to talk to the user and ask them questions, and enables them to reply to you.
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Maintaining a good relationship is about being a good person - treating your users with respect, valuing their time, providing them with appropriate assurances and taking care with their data.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 26-27 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:22:22
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Do they trust you? Are you asking for appropriate information (from their perspective)? Will they benefit from filling in the form? Is the effort needed to complete the form commensurate with the benefit of doing so?
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The extent to which people will be willing to give you information depends on several factors:
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 23-24 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:22:07
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context is everything.
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everyone reading this article will have encountered a form that asked for too much information.
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 16-17 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:21:38
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the fact that it makes us focus on the all-important but often overlooked factor of relationship is very valuable.
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First layer: Relationship
The art of writing very little: how to improve your forms - formsthatwork.com - Your Highlight Location 16-16 | Added on Tuesday, 9 April 13 23:21:10
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