How to solve a space/content conflict in a paper form
7 Apr 2014 - 12:22am
46 weeks ago
I have a paper form design situation where the amount of content that needs to go on the form makes it too big for users.
Imagine a form that tradespeople use to manage safety on worksites. The form helps the worker identify potential safety hazards and suggests techniques for minimising risk. It also guides the worker on safety measures that are mandatory in some cases (e.g. regular inspection of the site).
With a highly usable design (e.g. typeface that is large enough for the majority of the population to read), the form takes up one side of one A3 piece of paper. Two supplementary forms, which are only needed some of the time, take up another A4 piece of paper each.
In a pilot, workers complained that the A3 page was too large to carry with them on site (which they need to do). They also find it hard to manage all the different pieces of paper. They would rather have one single piece of A4 paper.
The managers, however, feel that all the information on the A3 and two A4 pages is necessary, so none of the content can be removed.
So we have a conflict between the content that's needed and the space it takes up.
Moreover, for legal reasons, there needs to be a carbon copy of the main form, so, it can't be printed on both sides of the paper.
The goal would be
a form whose physical size was portable
all the content that's needed to properly manage safety and meet legal obligations
carbon copy of the main form
all forms to be usable
I have an idea how to achieve all these (somewhat competing) requirements, but I'd really like to hear other people's ideas. This is a tough one! Note that going electronic is not an option for the near future.