Photo Essay #2: Form Design

For our second photo essay, we focused on printed forms. I selected five (5) forms from various fields: The State Employees Credit Union’s (SECU) Membership form, UMBC’s Direct Deposit form, Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Vision Reimbursement form, Krispy Kreme’s Fundraiser form, and the Animal Advocates of Howard County’s Walk for Paws Registration form and waiver.

Similarities

Despite the wide range of data being collected by these forms, there were a number of similarities. First and foremost, 4 out of the 5 all had clear branding at the top of the form. This not only made it clear who’s form you were filling out, but also served as a marketing opportunity.

All forms utilized boxes and/or highlighting to distinguish different sections of the form. This helps provide subtle direction to the user as to how and in which way the form should be completed.

Also helping to direct users as to how to fill out the form in a subtle way is the use of lines versus boxes. All forms used specific field types (e.g lines, boxes, checkboxes) to indicate how the user should respond. For instance, a checkbox directs the user to place a single checkmark t0 indicate which size T-Shirt they would like for the Walk for Paws event. UMBC’s Direct Deposit form uses individual boxes to indicate a single digit should be placed in each for the Social Security Number field.

Differences

The first thing you notice that’s different about these forms is how they use color. SECU’s form used multiple colors to differentiate sections of the form. Others like Carefirst or UMBC’s forms were entirely black and white. Krispy Kreme went a completely different route opting for color, but for the entire form.

The forms also differed between their use of field types. Some forms, like UMBC’s direct deposit form and SECU’s membership application used individual boxes for digits, single boxes for strings of numbers, and lines. Others like the Walk for Paws form consisted mainly of lines.

Considerations for Flying Fruit Cafe’s Breakfast Forms

One of the most important things worth incorporating into the Flying Fruit Cafe’s Breakfast sandwich form is branding. The current form doesn’t indicate that it’s for the cafe in any way, which is a missed marketing opportunity especially if the intention is to eventually allow customers to order while they’re away from the cafe where they might catch the attention of someone who didn’t know about the cafe.

Building off the idea of allowing customers to order outside of the cafe, the Walk for Paws form included a QR code to allow participants to register online. This could be a way for Cafe customers to order online at some point in the future.

Lastly, instructions could be added to the form to guide both customers and employees how best to complete or interpret the form.

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