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50. About Designing Forms

Before creating a form, it is very important to have a design plan. Having a form design sketched out before actually creating the form in either Acrobat or Designer saves you a lot of time and headache. It is far easier to erase and redraw lines on a piece of paper or move placeholder objects around in a layout or illustration program than it is to delete, move, modify, or re-create form elements that might have been painstakingly aligned, grouped, or formatted. Following are some things you should keep in mind when designing a form:

  • It is important to determine who your target audience will be so you can design your form accordingly. End users who have a disability, such as vision impairment or reduced mobility, should be able to easily navigate around a form using only the keyboard or screen reader. You can set the tabbing sequence in Adobe Designer so the end user can tab from one field to the next in a logical order, instead of using the mouse.

  • Determine the type of information you will be gathering and whether you need to provide information to the end user. Forms should be clear and concise. Try to avoid unnecessary clutter that detracts from the information you are trying to convey or gather from the end user. Group related information together and use consistent elements or organizational structures throughout your form.

  • If your form contains images or other graphical objects, sketch a rough draft of how you want the form to look. The actual form design can then be done in a design layout program, such as Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, or even the Adobe Designer.

  • After you've designed and created your form, test it to make sure all the components are working properly. If you are sending data by email, file server, or the Web, make sure that is working properly.


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