Well designed e-government web forms -- examples from different countries

29 Jan 2010 - 9:27am
6 years ago
2 replies
2443 reads
Miriam Gerver

Hi all,

I am doing a presentation at a conference this year on e-government
web forms, and would like to include examples of well-designed forms
from different countries. I have some examples, but could use a few

Do any of you have screen shots of e-gov web forms that demonstrate
any of the following? Or might you be able to give me access to any
such surveys so that I can take my own screen shots?

--good login instructions or ways to ease login
--good way of asking for a reference period
--pages that fit a lot in, yet look uncluttered
--easily available help (and contact information) that does not get in
the way for expert users
--well-formatted instructions
--text boxes that match expected response length
--section to section navigation for complex surveys
--good placement of "back" and "next" buttons
--good handling and displaying of conditional branching (i.e., skip patterns)
--good and innovative inline validations, calculations, or additions,
that, ideally, allow users to override any automatically inserted
--good placement of error messages
--general progress indicators (i.e., not for every question, just for
general stages of form completion)
--good review screen/error summary
--comprehensive submission confirmation and thank you screen

I would obviously give appropriate credit to whatever I include.

Thank you,
Miriam Gerver


31 Jan 2010 - 10:02am

Well... I don't know of any really good forms on gov web sites but
here are some that are more or less OK:


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Posted from the new ixda.org

31 Jan 2010 - 12:29pm
Caroline Jarrett

Miriam L. Gerver
> I am doing a presentation at a conference this year on e-government
> web forms, and would like to include examples of well-designed forms
> from different countries. I have some examples, but could use a few
> more.

Here are some examples that have some good design features. No doubt you'll
be able to suggest design improvements to them - in my experience, the
complexity and constraints of government make it really difficult to achieve
designs that are perfect.

Have a look at the Washington State case study presented by Anthro-tech.
It's a .pdf available from their home page:

Washington State has had a massive commitment to the 'Plain Talk' program
for several years now, and has done a lot of user-centred design improvement
to tough challenges like the language of its health and safety laws.

In the UK, I've been impressed with the design of Money Claim Online. This
allows you to sue someone for an amount less than £100,000 (approx US$

HM Revenue and Customs (our tax authorities) has a superbly easy-to-use form
that allows an employer to tell the tax authority that no PAYE tax is due
this quarter. (Translation: PAYE is our term for deducting two taxes, income
tax and national insurance plus a few other possible things from employees'
pay. A very small employer, typically a one-person business, might not be
able to pay salary one quarter or pay at a low enough rate that no tax is
due). This form may not look all that easy but all you need to complete it
is a single reference number which any employer would easily be able to copy
from the highly distinctive 'payslip booklet' as described on the form. This
form is so simple it's even slightly disconcerting.

I worked with the Financial Services Authority on the design of their
Application Packs. These are highly complex forms that they use to assess
whether an organisation or individual is 'fit and proper' to conduct various
types of financial business in the UK. The minimum, non-returnable fee is
£2000. The e-Government part of this process is the bit that allows an
applicant to select the right forms for completing offline. For example:

It's easier to come up with forms that offer huge scope for improvement.

To give just one ironic example, the UK government has recently released an
online forms tool that allows government departments to self-assess the
difficulty of their paper forms. The fearsome preamble hints at the
complexity to come:

Caroline Jarrett

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