Sooner or later, every organization has to deal with the issue of designing or redesigning a form. Whether it’s an admission form, a payroll check or a medical administration report, someone is going to need to analyze the surrounding workflow, identify the forms owners and users, understand any corporate, industry or government requirements or specifications for the elements of the form, and, in cases where there is a digital output system driving the creation of the form, the technology behind the form’s processing.
If it sounds complicated, that’s because it can be. Of course, not every form requires hours of analysis and research to be usable and effective. For a small office or organization, with a small forms universe, the process can be simpler. However, as organization size increases and industry and government specifications impact design and material specifications, business form management becomes a significantly more complex operation and a poorly managed forms universe is costly and can lead to expensive legal ramifications. To get a feel for the complexity of professional form design the partial list of considerations below ought to help determine if your internal resources are up to the task or if professional assistance is necessary.
Form Design Considerations
- What is the form’s purpose?
- What corporate standards and identity items are required?
- What government or trade organization specifications apply?
- What information belongs on the form?
- Where should information be placed on the form for maximum readability?
- Who uses this form?
- Who are the owners of the business from which the form originates?
- If this is a redesign, how does the original stand up to current usage and specifications?
- Who in the organization owns the form?
- What is the form’s workflow?
- How will the form be distributed who and how will they interact with it?
- Are there special components to consider (Bar coding, color printing, subject portraits)?
As the list above makes abundantly clear, professional form design is no small task. Just gathering all of the information needed to fulfill the questions above will require sustained effort and a firm grasp of form design to understand how each piece plays into the design whole. Fortunately, there are Information and Form Design professionals available to manage the process, and ensure that each deployed form in your organization is unique, compliant and fully functional.