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.

One thought on “How not to design a downloadable form

  1. David Rose

    Although not to do with downloadable forms, web forms that ask for numeric data (such as telephone numbers or credit cards numbers) that can’t cope with spaces, really get my goat. Such sloppy & lazy programming.


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