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Rant of the day

July 1, 2008

Let’s say you work for a magazine subscription department, the gas company, or a credit card company.  You’re designing a form, such as a bill.  You know that input errors are a major expense for your company and an equally large irritation to your customers.  But what the heck; you just throw the form together any old way.  You didn’t bother with testing.  It never occurred to you to wonder about logical flow, or if people over 40 can really make 8-point-type with a ballpoint pen, let alone read it.  Clearly you didn’t bother to ever read a book by Edward Tufte, Don Norman, or Steve Krug.  You didn’t Google “information design” or even just look at Google’s home page and wonder why it’s designed the way it is.  Nope, you just shot from the hip, dude.

Luckily for you, you’re anonymous.  Your office isn’t in Bloomington/Normal and doesn’t have a sign outside that says; “Office of the person who designs indecipherable forms”. 

Categories: Design, Geeky
  1. July 2, 2008 at 04:06 | #1

    Why is it I get the feeling that were their office located in Normal with such a sign, there might be a certain angry blogger with a ballpoint pen and a tension headache ready to do them some violence?  ;-)

    Now just imagine being the employee who has to input all of the data from one of those evil, evil forms.

    Now just imagine the lot of you ganging up on the office monkeys responsible for “designing” said forms…

  2. July 3, 2008 at 06:16 | #2

    I have long held the notion that indecipherable bills from utilities, etc., are not a mistake or the result of incompetence, but a deliberate way to overbill, or, at the least, promote overpayment and “float” the credits.

  3. July 6, 2008 at 10:16 | #3

    Gah!  Form and bill design is huge source of irritation for me (though to be fair, it’s probably because when it’s done well, it’s simply not noticeable or noteworthy).  I especially like forms that leave as much space for the address as they do for the name, which is great when you like at “123 1st St.” and not so much when you live at “14376 N. Martin Luther King Blvd #473B”.

    When the opportunity comes up to design input forms in my department, I volunteer, regardless of my workload.  Alas, more of that is being done through online systems now, rather than Word/Excel docs, which mean we get whatever a coder does to get stuff to fit on the page.

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