Monthly Archives: March 2014

How not to design a downloadable form

I have recently had to download and print out a form from a financial institution. For legal reasons it requires a physical signature so it cannot be completed online.

There are a number of things badly wrong with this form:

a) The small print (there is quite a bit of it) is REALLY small. Almost illegibly so. It can be read on screen – by zooming if necessary – but on the printout, physical magnification is required.

b) The form covers four pages, and I am instructed not to staple the two sheets together. The first sheet (page 1-2) has the details of the account I am opening. The second (pages 3-4) requests my signature, and otherwise has only the generic small print referred to above, and some boxes for staff at the issuing institution to complete. Anyone else see a problem with this?

c) Nowhere on the form is there any address to send it to. Probably there was one on the web page from which I downloaded it, but once the form is printed out and taken away that is lost.

This has all the hallmarks of a case where a document looks fine on screen, but no one has thought about the practical problems when it is transferred to hard copy.