Form Design

I know it sounds weird, but form design is one of my favourite things to do. It’s like constructing an invisible puzzle – everything has to fit, and the ‘solution’ (how to use/read the form) needs to be obvious to everyone who comes across it.

Mash Millwright Field Service Labour Report

My little brother is a millwright in central Alberta. He’d been using a standard Field Report form, at left, but had a few problems with it. Some fields were redundant or not used much; others were used all the time but did not have enough space. He particularly wanted the job description area to be the full width of the page as he often ran out of room when writing up his description of the work that was done.

Upon looking at some of his old reports, I noted that most of his job descriptions were done in point form. This mean short line lengths, which are also easier to read. Instead of expanding the job description area the full width of the page, I rotated the report page 90º and made the column longer. This meant the other boxes could be reduced in width and stacked on top of each other. His clients could see a rundown of the parts, time and material used in one column on the left, with mileage tracking along the bottom.

The redesign was successful and he’s been very happy with it.