E-forms: saving work or creating stress?

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E-forms have benefits, but so do paper forms. To have a successful e-forms project, you need to choose the appropriate level of e-form. This talk also describes several indicators of e-forms project success.

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  • Paper form
    HM Revenue and Customs sends a pre-printed paying-in book
    Employer fills in with zeros
    HMRC has to deal with a ‘zero’ paying-in slip
    Electronic equivalent coming up
  • Killam, R. (2009) “Forms Management: What Forms Managers Think About” User Experience Magazine: Volume 8, Issue 2

    1. Print-on-Demand
    Essentially, paper forms that are made available electronically.
    2. Fill-and-print
    The user fills the form online, then prints and sends in.
    Good if you need a real signature, or the user has to attach a document
    3. Intelligent electronic forms
    Include conditional fields, logon access, hidden fields, and help
    Data collected is not integrated with enterprise applications.
    4. Enterprise-enabled
    Data is merged with enterprise applications e.g. database connections, secure access, electronic signatures, and other enterprise features.
    5. Complete business applications
    Multiple forms and sub-forms in an integrated business solution.
    May have a mixture of intelligent electronic forms and enterprise-enabled forms

  • E-forms: saving work or creating stress?

    1. 1. E-forms: saving work or creating stress? Caroline Jarrett IPCC, University of Twente, Netherlands, 8 July 2010 FORMS CONTENT
    2. 2. Caroline Jarrett twitter @cjforms caroline.jarrett@effortmark.co.uk Stone, Jarrett, Woodroffe and Minocha (2005) User interface design and evaluation Morgan Kaufmann Jarrett and Gaffney (2008) Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability Morgan Kaufmann Consultancy: www.effortmark.co.uk Forms advice: www.formsthatwork.com Training: www.usabilitythatworks.com Editing tips: www.editingthatworks.com Designing for people who do not read easily: www.designtoread.com 2
    3. 3. Online forms offer potential benefits Cost savings Customer service improvements Environmental benefits 3
    4. 4. But paper forms also offer benefits • If the form arrives as paper, why not carry on? • Paper forms can be easier – Easier to copy from last year’s form – Easier to share with another user – Easier to read and flip – Easier to start and stop • Unlikely to crash Jarrett, C. (2006) “Why do people persist with paper forms?” http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article3385.asp 4
    5. 5. Outline Two examples from the UK Choosing the right level of E-Form Indicators of likely project success 5
    6. 6. Case studies Two examples from the UK: 1. Ugly but effective 2. Usable but defective 6
    7. 7. Paper form: sometimes need to report ‘no payment due’ 7
    8. 8. 8
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. Usable but defective: the story of Tax Credits Online • ‘Tax credit’ is a means-tested payment – Aims to reduce the ‘poverty gap’, where low-paid workers lose more in state benefits than they gain in wages when moving into work – Mostly for families with children • User experience: – Forms were somewhat simpler than the previous benefit – Complicated rules about changes in circumstances – Online application system, extensively tested for usability 11
    12. 12. Tax Credits Online closed in 2005 • Attack by organized gangs • Still has not reopened 12
    13. 13. Outline Two examples from the UK Choosing the right level of E-Form Indicators of likely project success 13
    14. 14. There are five levels of ‘online’ to consider, of increasing technological complexity 1 Print-on-demand 2 Fill-and-print 3 Intelligent electronic forms 4 Enterprise-enabled Complete business applications Killam, R. (2009) “Forms Management: What Forms Managers Think About” User Experience Magazine: Volume 8, Issue 2 5 14
    15. 15. Form taken from a .pdf leaflet explaining what you have to do 15
    16. 16. This is the start of the fillable .pdf 16
    17. 17. Screenshot from the (free) HRS Pro enterprise-enabled software 17
    18. 18. As the level of integration increases, you’ll probably need to make more changes 1. Print-on-Demand 2. Fill-and-print 3. Intelligent electronic forms 4. Enterprise-enabled 5. Complete business applications • Change the form number? • Remove paper-only language Add instructions about filling • Pages appear according to previous inputs • New pages to handle responses from the application • Should be a whole new approach to get maximum value 18
    19. 19. Outline Two examples from the UK Choosing the right level of E-Form Indicators of likely project success 19
    20. 20. A typical last-century schematic for a data capture process Jarrett, C. (2000) Understanding the costs of data capture: paper, automatic, and with the Internet. CIMTECH http://www.formsthatwork.com/files/Articles/DataCaptureCosts.pdf 20
    21. 21. A typical 2010 schematic for a data capture process http://www.dataentrysolution.com/subdivision-14-Data-capture.html 21
    22. 22. Well-understood business process: watch the people deal with the paper • Start with the post room • Follow through every part of the process • Find out how they deal with errors and exceptions Jarrett, C. (2000) Understanding the costs of data capture: paper, automatic, and with the Internet. CIMTECH http://www.formsthatwork.com/files/Articles/DataCaptureCosts.pdf
    23. 23. Indicator for E-forms success: low error rates for paper forms • Typical error rate for a complex form? • 100% (each form has at least one error) • Typical error rate for a good E-forms process? • 10%? 23
    24. 24. Indicator for E-forms success: Clear benefits for user • Paper forms have benefits – Same form as last time – Easier to share – Easier to read and flip – Easier to copy – Easier to start and stop – Unlikely to crash • What incentive can you offer to the user? – Available on demand – Do calculations – Check for (some) errors – Quicker answers Jarrett, C. (2006) “Why do people persist with paper forms?” http://www.usabilitynews.com/news/article3385.asp 24
    25. 25. Indicator for E-forms success: High level of web awareness in users http://bit.ly/bEMkPB 25
    26. 26. Indicator for E-forms success: Appropriate level of security • How do the users feel about this form? • Does it capture personal data? • What are the risks? 26
    27. 27. Indicator for E-forms success: Online form is optional, at least at initially HM Revenue and Customs: P35 (End of year) • Started with financial incentive (£250, approx € 300) • Financial incentive reduced each year • Mandatory for largest businesses, then medium, then small • Now mandatory, no incentive, for all but a few exceptions 27
    28. 28. Indicator for E-forms success: Don’t try to force 100% compliance Stopped Nannies Religious objection Care workers 28
    29. 29. Summary Choose the right level of E-Form Indicators for project success: – Well-understood business process – Low error rates for paper forms – Clear benefits for user – High level of web awareness in users – Appropriate level of security – Online form is optional, at least initially – Don’t try to force 100% compliance 29
    30. 30. Contact Caroline Jarrett carolinej@effortmark.co.uk Twitter @cjforms Slides at: www.slideshare.net/cjforms ” 30
    31. 31. Caroline Jarrett Caroline is an independent user experience and usability consultant who specialises in forms: on the web, on paper, and business processes involving forms. She particularly likes working with complex government or financial forms. Caroline works on a ‘skills transfer’ basis, helping you and your organisation to learn how to introduce user- centred design, usability, and better forms. 31

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