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How to look at the content in a form

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Forms workshop at the UK cross-government content meetup, Longbenton, Newcaste, June 2016. Led by Caroline Jarrett.

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How to look at the content in a form

  1. 1. Caroline Jarrett @cjforms How to look at the content in a form Content meetup, Longbenton, June 2016
  2. 2. It’s a form if it … Looks like a form and works like a form Asks questions and expects answers Allows someone to achieve a goal 2
  3. 3. Design is important for forms Looks like a form and works like a form Interaction Design Asks questions and expects answers Content Design Allows someone to achieve a goal Service Design3
  4. 4. Start with users’ needs Users’ needs (and business ones) Allows someone to achieve a goal The answers you need The questions you ask Asks questions and expects answers Where you put the pixelsLooks like a form and works like a form 4
  5. 5. A great form works well across all three layers Relationship Conversation Appearance Easy to get it done Easy to move on Goals achievedEasy to understand Easy to answer Goals achievedEasy to use Easy to read Schema from “Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability”, Jarrett and Gaffney (2008) www.formsthatwork.com5
  6. 6. 6 How to look at a form
  7. 7. Step 1 7 Don’t look at it yet
  8. 8. Step 2 8 Choose a persona Write the story of why that persona is filling in the form write down your assumptions
  9. 9. Step 3 9 Fill in the form as that persona, as honestly as you can keep notes
  10. 10. Step 4 10 Now look at it How did it work across the three layers? Appearance Conversation Relationship
  11. 11. Step 5 11 Do user research Appearance: How do users interact in practice? Conversation: What words do users actually use? Relationship: What are the real users like? What are their needs?
  12. 12. 12 Paying for a parking ticket
  13. 13. 13 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket.
  14. 14. 14 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. Notice the words
  15. 15. 15 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. Words?
  16. 16. 16 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. Words in context
  17. 17. 17 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. Will I read this?
  18. 18. 18 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. What about this?
  19. 19. 19 I need to pay a parking ticket in Newcastle. I’ve lost the ticket. Oh dear.
  20. 20. 20 How to look at a form
  21. 21. Tip Be kind. Whenever we’re looking at a form, we know that people have worked hard to improve it from the previous version. 21 Image credit: Caroline Jarrett
  22. 22. Step 1 22 Don’t look at it yet
  23. 23. Step 2 23 Choose a persona Write the story of why that persona is filling in the form write down your assumptions
  24. 24. Image credit: Caroline Jarrett “We’ve started to pay the Keeper” Friends decide to turn their hobby into a club
  25. 25. Step 3 25 Fill in the form as that persona, as honestly as you can keep notes
  26. 26. 26 Go to GOV.UK Search for CT41(g) http://bit.ly/concon16
  27. 27. Step 4 27 Now look at it How did it work across the three layers? Appearance Conversation Relationship
  28. 28. Tip Pick the most important thing 28 1 __________ 2 ________________ 3 _________________________________
  29. 29. Step 5 29 Do user research Appearance: How do users interact in practice? Conversation: What words do users actually use? Relationship: What are the real users like? What are their needs?
  30. 30. 30 1. Don’t look at it. 2. Choose a persona and write the story of why that persona is filling in this form. 3. Fill in the form as that persona, as honestly as you can. 4. Now look at it. How did it work across the three layers? 5. Do user research Investigate your assumptions How to look at a form
  31. 31. 31 Easy to understand Easy to answer
  32. 32. Are these familiar words? Please fill in and return this form to us as soon as possible to help us update our records. • You should operate PAYE and deduct National Insurance contributions from all remuneration paid, including honorariums and fees paid or credited to employees and office holders. • You must send us a return of all annual payments you make, including some interest payments, and the Income Tax deducted from them. Throughout this form the word ‘club’ means club, society, voluntary association and other similar body. 32
  33. 33. Simple language isn’t always plain language 33
  34. 34. Language is plain if we can… 34 Find what we need Understand what we find Act Inspiration: Ginny Redish’s definition http://www.plainlanguage.gov/whatispl/ Images: shutterstock.com
  35. 35. Tip Test your forms with people Ask them to explain to you what the questions mean to them, and what answers they would like to give. 35 Image credit: Caroline Jarrett
  36. 36. The “dolphin = rhino or shark?” problem 36 Image credit: Corel Draw Ms Dolphin, please identify yourself as one of these:
  37. 37. Questions with only ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers can be tricky 37
  38. 38. Some possible answers to the question Is the club a charity? o No, and we don’t have any plans to be a charity o We’ve applied to be a charity but we don’t yet have the number o Yes, and our number is XXXXX 38
  39. 39. 39 Easy to get it done Easy to move on
  40. 40. Let’s have another look at that introduction Please fill in and return this form to us as soon as possible to help us update our records. • You should operate PAYE and deduct National Insurance contributions from all remuneration paid, including honorariums and fees paid or credited to employees and office holders. • You must send us a return of all annual payments you make, including some interest payments, and the Income Tax deducted from them. Throughout this form the word ‘club’ means club, society, voluntary association and other similar body. 40
  41. 41. Tip Track a sample of forms through your process to find out how you use the answers Image credit: Shutterstock41
  42. 42. A great form works well across all three layers Relationship Conversation Appearance Easy to get it done Easy to move on Goals achievedEasy to understand Easy to answer Goals achievedEasy to use Easy to read Schema from “Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability”, Jarrett and Gaffney (2008) www.formsthatwork.com42
  43. 43. 43 More slides http://www.slideshare.net/cjforms
  44. 44. 44 twitter @cjforms caroline.jarrett@effortmark.co.uk www.effortmark.co.uk Caroline Jarrett

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