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Chapter 11. Using Forms and Interactive ... > Designing Effective Forms

Designing Effective Forms

In a society like ours, which depends so heavily on the processing of information, forms are essential for organizing both the way the information is gathered and how it's presented. If a census-taker merely asks a person to "tell me all about your household," she'll probably get some of the data she's after, but she'll miss some and receive other, unwanted information. In this disorganized state, the information is almost useless. Give the census-taker a form with which to guide the data collection, and accuracy of information will improve.

Like the census-taker, you not only need your forms to gather accurate information, but you also have to persuade people to fill them out in the first place. People dislike forms almost on principle, and if the form is badly organized, too long, and filled with irrelevant questions, nobody will touch it. Here are a few things you can do to create user-friendly forms:


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