SAD-Layout Considerations

When a form is designed, a list is prepared of all the items to be included on the form and the maximum space to be reserved. The list should be checked by the form to make sure it has the required details.

1.Form title and number:  The first consideration in forms design is a brief, descriptive title that tells what the form is and what it does. Since we read from left to right and from top to bottom, the upper left corner of the form is an appropriate place or a title. On forms that go outside the organization, the title is placed in the center at the top of the form.    Long titles with vague words should be avoided. Good titles often are no longer than two words.

2.Data classification and zoning: All items in the form should be logically grouped. Then data is placed in the appropriate zones. Thus
  • A form is divided into zones (zone represents a group of similar information).
  •  The zones use ULC (Upper Left Corner) method .
  • When more than one form is involved, the sequence of data in related forms should follow the same flow.
 
3.Rules and captions:  In designing forms, use rules (lines) to guide the human eye to read and write data groups. A caption is similar to a column heading. It specifies what information to write in the space provided. Rules and captions go together. Rules guide and separate where as captions guide and instruct. Since a caption is used to guide, one or two different sizes of captions are usually used. A caption should not be very bold. Light rules should be used unless there is a definite need for separating parts of the form. In that case, heavier printed rules can be used. A column heading is a caption used to refer to more than one rule or box on a form.

A form is designed with a combination of rules and captions. Rules can also be used to make boxes in which the user places data. The caption tells the user what information goes in a particular position.

4.Box design: Whenever possible, it is advisable to design the form using the box style rule, with captions in the upper left corner. The box design gets the captions up out of the way and reduces the form size by 25 to 40 percent. It also makes the data entry uninterrupted from left to right.

5.Spacing Requirements: In a form there must be sufficient space to allow for data capture. A most commonly used standard is called 3/5 spacing. The 3 refers to the number of lines per vertical inch, while the 5 refers to the number of characters that fit in one horizontal inch. There are times when the number of lines have to be a minimum. This is done using the diagonal spacing method.

6.Ballot box and check off designs: Using ballot or check off boxes for questions that can be answered by yes or no can greatly reduce the amount of required wriring. The user indicates the preference simply by checking off the desired box or placing a mark in the appropriate space.

7.Form instructions: A well-designed form with clearly stated captions should be self-instructing. A form becomes self-instructing by means of clearly stated captions and brief, procedural instructions.

8.Paper selection: Forms may be printed on paper of different colors, grades and weights. Colored paper or colored printing on white paper is used to distinguish among copies and facilitate sorting copies. Common color preferences are listed in the table.

 Order of copy                     color
     First                                 white
     Second                             yellow
     Third                                pink
     Fourth                              blue

Paper  weight is also to be considered. There are three major factors in paper selection

1.Appearance
2.Longevity
3.Handling.

The form designer should know the number of times the form will be handled, the amount of folding it will receive and the extent to which it will be exposed.

            Paper is classified as follows
  •   Onionskin paper is used for inner copies of multiple part sets.
  •   Bond paper is rag paper that is the best.
  •   Duplicator paper is used for duplicating and Xerox machines.
  •  Ledger paper is used for checks, accounting records and ledger cards.
  •   Index paper is for printing cards.
  •   Card stock is the heaviest and the lowest grade paper. 
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