SAD-Forms Design

People read from forms, write on forms and spend hours handling forms and filing forms. The data the forms carry come from people and the informational output goes to people. Form is a tool with a message. It is the physical carrier of data-of information. It is an either an authority for action or a request for action.

Classification of forms:

A printed form is generally classified by what it does in the system. There are three primary classifications
1.Action: This type of form requests the user to do something.

Example: purchase orders. 

2.Memory: This form is a record of historical data that remains in a file, is used for reference, and serves as control on key details.

                      Example: Inventory records, purchase records 

3.Report: This form guides supervisors and other administrators in the activities. It provides data on a project or a job.
                      Example: profit and loss statements, sales analysis report

Requirements of form design:

Form design follows analyzing forms. Since the purpose of a form is to communicate effectively through forms design, there are several major requirements.

1.Identification and wording: The form title must clearly identify its purpose. Columns and rows should be labeled to avoid confusion. The form should also be identified by firm name or code number to make it easy to reorder. 

2.Maximum readability and use: The form must be easy to use and fill out. It should be legible, intelligible and uncomplicated. Ample writing space must be provided for inserting data.

3.Physical factors: The forms composition, color, layout and paper stock should lend themselves to easy reading. Pages should be numbered when multipage reports are being generated for the user.

4.Order of data items: The data requested should reflect a logical sequence. Related data should be in adjacent positions. Data copied from source documents should be in the same sequence on both forms.

5.Ease of data entry: If used for data entry, the form should have field positions indicated under each column of data and should have some indication of where decimal points are.

6.Size and arrangement: The form must be easily stored and filed. It should provide for signatures. Important items must be in a prominent action on the form.

7.Use of instructions: The instructions that accompany a form should clearly show how it is used and handled.

8.Efficiency considerations: The form must be cost effective. This means eliminating unnecessary data and facilitating reading lines across the form.

9.Type of report: Forms design should also consider whether the content is executive summary, intermediate managerial information, or supporting data. The user requirements for each type determine the final form design.

Carbon paper as form copier:
Carbon paper is one way of duplicating information in a form. There are two types of carbon, classified by the action they encounter

1.Glide action carbon is inserted between a set of forms. It allows the glide action of the pencil to transfer dye to the surface of the sheet beneath.

2.Hammer action carbon is used in typewriters and line printers of computers. The hammer action of the keys transfers the carbon coating to the sheet beneath.

Various methods of transferring impressions between copies are as follows

1.One time carbon: It is made of inexpensive Kraftex paper. It is interleaved between two sheets in the form. It is used once and then thrown away. It is the most cost-effective for multipart forms.

2.Carbon backed paper: The back of each form copy is coated with carbon, which transfers data to the copy beneath.

3.NCR ( No Carbon Required) paper: The top sheet is chemically treated with invisible dye, that allows impressions to be transferred to the next lower copy. It is the cleanest and the costliest method. Erasing removes the coating permanently.

The readability of the carbon copies depends on the color and outline. In multiple copies, the copies below the original should be lighter in weight for easy transfer of the carbon. Generally, one time carbon is preferred when a small number of copies are required. If carbon is unacceptable, NCR can be used.
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