Forms for People (2nd ed.)

Designing Forms that People Can Use

Robert Barnett,

Forms for People: Designing Forms that People Can Use
 
 
‘Forms For People,’ by Robert Barnett, is a 512 page comprehensive manual on the design and production of business forms. The book has been written for both the experienced forms analyst as well as the novice and part-time form designer and is based on the author’s experience in the industry for over 40 years. It covers a wide range of technical subjects such as typography, color, paper selection, offset printing and computer-related forms, with many illustrations and tables for the technically-minded designer. However, it also provides extensive background material based on the author’s many years of conducting training courses and workshops in form design. Starting with such basic subjects as “what is a form?” and “the wide variety of forms” it moves on to more advanced subjects such as “human communication”, “forms analysis”, “usability testing” and “electronic forms.” The book’s emphasis is on designing forms that people can understand and use rather than just teaching the theory of graphic design and layout. For example, there are five chapters dealing with why people make mistakes when filling out forms and showing what can be done to deal with this using such modern techniques as usability testing. Even when dealing with fundamentals of layout and design, it takes the reader beyond the traditional “upper left corner captioned box” approach and shows how plain language questionnaires can dramatically reduce human error and significantly improve processing productivity. Based on up-to-date scientific research it covers such subjects as “designing forms for aged people” and “how to get people to follow instructions.” The final 8 chapters deal with electronic forms, from key issues and implementation through to design and testing. The book finishes with an extensive bibliography of books and papers on forms and related subjects.


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