Business People Club

Search All Topics !

10 Tips when using electronic forms

0 like 0 dislike
201 views
by MagicalCyborg
Background to electronic forms

You've decided you need electronic forms or have a feeling they should be implemented.

"An electronic form" is a transaction between a user and the form provider. The form can be pre-filled with data from a backend database system before it is presented to the user. When the form is submitted to the provider the data is saved to be used in a business process.

The most common reasons for using electronic forms are:

1. Cost savings by avoiding re-keying of data
2. Faster customer service resulting in better customer satisfaction
3. Comply with a government or industry regulation.

No tool will turn a bad form into a good one, and automating a bad form simply collects bad data more quickly – or alienates your users.

Following these ten tips will make sure your new forms are a success.

1. Choose the right approach

Deciding which form format to use depends on what it will be used for.

If your form is very short, such as a two-box login form, then we suggest an HTML form.

You may be required to comply with regulations such as Section 501 or similar where your target users could be blind or disabled. HTML forms are typically more user friendly when complying to such regulations.

PDF forms are likely to be the best approach if:

- There is some advantage to your users in keeping the layout of an existing paper form, such as if they are likely to be copying from paper to screen.

- The form previously existed only on paper and now you want to make it electronic.
 
2. Skills Availability

Creation of an electronic form and its deployment needs specific skills. Most of the time it is found that companies struggle with a skills shortage and work overload to implement technology even after buying the necessary computer hardware and software.

Creating an electronic form requires different skills:

- Working with software installation and databases.

- Ability with words and understanding of business processes.

- Ability to design field names, preferably with some knowledge of how the fields will be used in the database.

- Working with field lengths, descriptions and validations.

- Understanding of business processes; ability to find and correct errors; working with word processors.

- Working with the web.

Most organizations find that they have these skills available but not necessarily in one person. For example, there may be someone who is good with databases, the web, and validations, and someone else who is good with word processors and understands the business processes.

You’ll get the best results, quickly, if you identify people with the right skills to work together from the start.
 
3. Check that each form has the basics

Make sure that each form has these essential pieces of information:

- A logo, crest, or something else that identifies who issued the form.

- A title that says what the form is for.

- A note at the end saying what to do with it when it is filled in.

- Contact details for how to get help with the form.
 
4. Adapt the form for on-screen completion

Remove instructions and formatting that is only relevant to paper: For example:

- “write neatly in black ink”, or “use CAPITALS”.

- “please tick the box” (can’t do it on-screen – say “please choose” instead).

- “use a separate sheet if more space is needed” (can’t do it on-screen – consider offering an “add another page” button instead).

- ruled lines, underlined spaces and boxes.

Think about where to put the SEND or SUBMIT button. The best place is usually at the end of the form.

Decide whether you really need a button that throws away all the user’s input. If you think that your users will definitely want to do this, then create a button that clearly states “THROW AWAY ALL MY ANSWERS”.
 
5. Edit the instructions

Most forms have far too many words.

Aim to cut half of them.
 
6. Establish rules for frequent questions

If you’re only working with one form then skip this tip.

Most of us have to contend with lots of forms. If you compare a selection of them, you’ll find that there are some questions that come up frequently.

For example:

- Personal details such as name, address, telephone and email address.

- Declarations and consents.

- Requests for dates such as the start date of a service.

- Official information such as a reference number from a bill.

Your work will be quicker, and it will be easier for your users, if you establish some standards for how you ask for these repeated questions. For example:

- Decide on the order that you ask for names e.g. title, first name and last name.

- Decide whether to ask for an address in a single multi-line block or whether to split it up into three or four lines.

- Decide whether to ask for the postcode first (and consider using an address lookup product) or last in the address.

- Decide if you need a portal model of personalization for forms whereby the user gets a pre-filled form with basic details already filled for him automatically.

- Cut your declaration to the absolute minimum that your lawyers will agree to, and then use it consistently.

- Work out how many characters you will accept in standard questions such as names. These will become your field lengths when you automate the form.

It saves time if you make a 'template' form that has the basic information and your most frequently asked questions set up in it. You can use the 'template' feature in Word, or just have a basic starting document that you copy for each form.
 
7. Manage the forms in their life cycle

Forms can change over a period of time due to various reasons. It can be a legal reason, usability reason or a specific business reason.

Make sure you have a simple to use strategy to manage the versions of each form published.
 
8. Think about the business reasons for validation

There are three possible levels of validation:

- Strict - the computer will not allow the user to proceed until correct data is entered.

- Soft - the computer warns the user that the data is missing or incorrect, but the user can proceed.

- None - there is no warning and the computer accepts any input.

Think about the business reasons for each validation. Paper forms allow users to enter whatever they think they need to fulfill the purpose of the form. This means that if their particular answer happens to be unexpected, they can still fill in the form and proceed.

If you have strict validation, then you may lose some users whose circumstances are a little different to whatever you anticipated.

Soft validations are the most challenging to program, but can deliver the best user experience because users find out about genuine slips but can still enter data where their answer doesn’t quite fit with your pre-defined ideas.

Opting for no validation is the easiest to program, but may confuse your users if they inadvertently make minor errors.
 
9. Tidy it up

Forms that look tidy are easier to fill in.

Check that you have used capitals consistently. Sentence case (like this) is easiest to read. Title Case Like This Is The Next Best Choice. ALL UPPER CASE LIKE THIS IS HARDEST TO READ – AVOID IT.

If you decide to put colons after your questions, then make sure that you have them for every question.

Try to make all the boxes line up neatly, both horizontally (in line with the questions) and vertically.

Run a spell checker and a grammar checker.
 
10. Test it with real users

Ask some real users from the target audience to try your form. Watch them as they fill it in, and ask them to tell you what they think about it as they work through it.

Watching a real user work on your form is the single best way of finding out whether it is successful.
 
For detailed information on electronic forms and their implementation, visit www.primeapple.co.uk

Advertise With Us

Create and Manage Your Sponsored Content

Promote Your Products and Services

 

  • Niche Categories
  • Flat Pricing
  • Unlimited Views
  • Sell Products
  • Highlighted Sponsored Post
  • Sell Services
  • Promote Causes
  • Reply To Customer Inquiries
  • Build Backlinks
  • Promote Affiliate Links
  • Instant Notifications
  • Build Author Profile
  • Cancel Anytime
  • Get Started

Your comment

Your name to display (optional):
Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
Anti-spam verification:
To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.

Related posts

0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 237 views
10 Tips for a Successful Entrepreneurial Pitch

One of the hardest presentations to make is the entrepreneurial pitch. You have a great idea for a business and you want someone ... and keep improving your pitch and eventually you may get funded.

image
by PerfumedNecromancer
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 193 views
10 Quick Tips For Creating A profitable List

Building and maintaining a high quality list of subscribers is vital to any marketers success. Let's go over some of the most important ... do well working on the Web and building your opt-in list.

image
by Conjursa
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 191 views
6 Tips for Keeping Your Cool When Customers Get Hot

1. Be assertive - not aggressive or passive. My definition of assertion is simple: "Say what you mean, mean what you say, and ... tips will position you to keep your cool when customers get hot!

image
by Slayerk
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 174 views
How to accept checks using check reader?

How to accept checks using check reader?

by UncleRhino
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 199 views
How to protect yourself when using public pc?

How to protect yourself when using public pc?

by Dragonig
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 310 views
10 Ways To Stimulate Employee Motivation

Today's fast-moving business environment demands that the effective manager be both a well-organized administrator and highly adept ... reviewed, rewarded, trusted, and motivated by the management.

image
by Explorer
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 296 views
10 Ways To Reduce Tax Burden For Your Small Business

An ideal lawyer will not just have a string of impressive credentials or gold lettering on his door. He or she will ... accounting professional as to which accounting system would be most suitable.

image
by HairyFoal
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 192 views
10 Things That Lead to One Great Meeting

Here are ten things that you can do to make your meetings more effective. 1) Avoid meetings. Test the importance ... while you ensure equitable participation and systematic progress toward results.

image
by KeyboardPie
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 277 views
10 Incredible Ways To Sell Your Products Now

1. Make your reader visualize they have already bought your product in your ad. Tell them what results they have gotten and how ... and gain your readers trust to buy your products or services.

image
by Richard S.
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 208 views
10 Ways To Ensure Your Flyer Avoids The Bin

Flyers are an excellent marketing tool to promote a club night or event. They are commonly used for student promotions throughout the country. You ... wonders. 10. Er, try not to stand near a bin.

image
by BeautifulWolf
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 297 views
10 Steps To Running A Home-Based Business

The failure or success of a business often relies on the most fundamental operations-the ones that often get overlooked as a tipping point process ... is your dream; do all you can to keep it alive.

image
by Wallaby
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 258 views
10 reasons for starting a profitable home business online

It's possible to start a home business online with very little outlay and you can easily earn from $100 to thousands per day. 1. You ... and ties unless you want to wear them, but that's your choice.

image
by SleepyFledgling
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 163 views
10 Effective Ways To Reduce Your Business Costs

1. Barter If you have a business you should be bartering goods and services with other businesses. You should try to trade for something before ... quality. Don't just be satisfied with a few. ----

image
by Sassassin
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 166 views
The 10 Super Unfair Ways of Making Money Online Even If You Don't Have A List Yet

Do you have a product so good you want everybody to know about it? How about generating more profits from it? If you want the answer ... steps above, take action now and do it today. To your success.

by Tabooccaneer
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 161 views
10 ways to get more visitors to your website

If your website traffic has suddenly come to a stand-still, you may need to give your site a marketing jump start. This is really ... even spark some ideas of your own! Best wishes, Maranda Mann

by LoyalChief
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 184 views
Web Accessibility Facts: 10 Things You Didn't Know

So here is the top 10 accessible tips: 1.With the deadline for website accessibility is October 2004 when all points of the ... be 993 million people accessing the net through these devices by 2006

by GamerAlpaca
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 395 views
10 ways to get links to your site

Getting links to your site increases traffic and boosts your rankings in the search engines queries. Here are the 10 methods I ... keep buying them to maintain your higher page rank and rankings.

by nicejone
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 322 views
8 Ways to Avoid Litigation When You Sell a Business

Based on recent litigation storm clouds, business owners planning exit strategies better batten down their legal hatches. As a ... to minimize your litigation risks and reap the benefits later.

image
by TwinNut
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 200 views
3 Points You Should Negotiate When You Are Losing Your Job

You work for a company that has been going through a lot of changes and upheaval. Word is going around about lay-offs and you ... to speak up for yourself at this difficult time. Good luck!

image
by Monkeyno
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 211 views
5 Ways You Can be Prepared When Facing a Job Loss

Are rumors circulating throughout your workplace that there may be downsizing, a lay-off or merger? Are you scared and don't know what ... attitude will help you find a new job soon. Good luck!

image
by HairyMagpie
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 250 views
Know When Two Sites Are Better Than One?

Back in the good old days it wasn't nearly so tough to get decent rankings fast. Wasn't nearly so complicated either. You ... may be better than one for your home based internet marketing business.

by GrizzlyFlash
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 333 views
When Your Product Makes People Feel Great, You Make Money!

We've all heard about the importance of offering a product or service that is a good value. The better the value, the more sales you ... health, mood, and general well being and you'll have a winner.

image
by BouncyOracle
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 182 views
What To Consider When Coming Up With A Franchise Idea

So many people think that by getting into the franchise business, they are setting themselves up for an easy way to make money, with ... you've had in the franchise's area. They provide training.

image
by CharmingChamp
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 257 views
What to look for when working with a partner?

What to look for when working with a partner?

by GraveGrass
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 329 views
Don’t Let Passions Rule When Buying A Business

Don’t Let Passions Rule When Buying A Business

by Camella
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 214 views
What to look for when Outsourcing projects offshore?

What to look for when Outsourcing projects offshore?

by Tomatoad
0 like 0 dislike
1 Comment 205 views
How to Inform Employees When You Sell a Business?

How to Inform Employees When You Sell a Business?

by Octopixy
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 327 views
Free Advertising Tips - How to Write Ads that Sell

If you are interested in free advertising you are not alone. The fact of the matter is that more and more people are diving ... a bit of practice you will be creating free advertisements that convert!

image
by Knighttime
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 324 views
17 Tips On Presenting Corporate & Office Areas

1. If you operate an office that receives visiting clients you probably have a reception area. Such an area can be used to ... to you and to avoid pointing with your finger, instead gesturing direc

image
by FoolishJaguar
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 170 views
4 Instant Tips for Running a Successful Internet Business

Running an internet business is not a difficult task; but running a successful internet business can be a bit more difficult. There ... business, but to be successful you will have to be determined.

image
by AfternoonFay
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 190 views
5 Tips For Developing A Website For Your Audience

Developing a website is important if you want to be a player in ecommerce. However, you don't want to just develop a website any old ... your site's message, so it is beneficial in a variety of ways.

image
by HistoryGuy
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 209 views
8 Resume Editing Tips

It's amazing what a well-written and nicely presented resume can do for your job search. Before you send yours out, follow this ... it, and scroll down to "remove link" to deactivate the link.

image
by HistoryYak
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 216 views
5 Tips to Help You Identify WHO To Market To

If you have your own small business, it's important to decide exactly who you will be marketing your products or services to. After all ... your plan later as you learn more. (C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa

image
by Dragonig
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 140 views
7 tips in creating publicity for corporate events

Organizing corporate events can be exciting and interesting but simultaneously stressful and nerve-racking. This is especially true when ... up presenting an event that falls short of expectations.

image
by GrizzlyFlash
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 238 views
7 Tips to Starting a Successful Small Business

Getting a small business off the ground is challenging to say the least. Here are some tips which will prepare the ground for ... this? Understand that in every problem there is potential for good.

image
by Mosquiche
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 233 views
20 Power Marketing™ Tips

Use these powerful yet simple tips from the national best-seller, "Secrets of Power Marketing: Promote Brand You" - the first ... group. Volunteer for your association, charity or community group.

by Herogue
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 166 views
Tips to Improve Customer Loyalty

Statistics show that, on average, U.S. companies lose half of their customers every five years. It's true that acquiring new customers ... let the customer know when he or she can expect an answer.

by Finderpros
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 245 views
Cost-Reducing Tips for the Small-Business Owner

One of the keys to running a successful small business or home office is learning to control costs. Even the smallest expenses can ... a postage meter or get a mail scale to eliminate overpaying.

by HuggingDuck
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 176 views
4 Tips To Build A Content Site With More Repeat Visitors

On the internet, content is known as "the king". People visits a site not for the flashy graphics nor the wonderful website designs, ... ! Content is king, and you can take benefit from it easily!

by PlaySeal
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 155 views
Five Tips For Combining Work And Leisure While On The Road

When your job takes you away from home, bringing your family along may actually make good business sense. With travel industry ... next business trip could also be a minivacation with the family.

by AmazingKitty
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 262 views
Top 7 Finder's Fees Tips

Consider the lucrative opportunity open to you in earning finder's fees. A finder is someone who finds something for a person or business ... need, as well as other sources to find what is needed.

image
by PerfumedNecromancer
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 191 views
4 Tips To Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others

Hiring an employee can be a big step for many small business owners. It means the end of doing EVERYTHING yourself and passing off ... train them, treat them well, and your business will take off.

image
by Celestiger
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 261 views
Common Forms Of Online Payments

Paypal has quickly and easily become one of the most common used forms of online payments on the internet today. Paypal is a website ... a shopping cart that you can use with their services for free.

by AfternoonFay
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 166 views
Using Overture For Keyword Research

Many of us who build websites get in the habit of using the Overture "Keyword Suggestion Tool" to do keyword research. It's convenient, ... keyword research, though, it's best to look to other tools.

by Knighttime
0 like 0 dislike
0 comments 129 views
500 million people using Google Photos, and three new ways to share

Two years ago we introduced Google Photos and now, more than 500 million people use it every month, backing up more than 1.2 ... to help you share and receive the meaningful moments in your life.

by Richard S.
Connect with us:
...