The form design project started as part of a new strategy for Formzero.in which realigned its business model to focus more on the academic front. Hence, to cater to the specific needs of the users, research was done to find out the pain points for the applicants while filling in the online applications. Several new challenges appeared on the completion of the research which was totally untouched before and had limited information on how to solve them. These challenges were specific to the Indian audience that had limited exposure to the internet. This drove the team to work on a solution which draws relationships from familiar concepts of forms for everybody, reducing the cognitive load and making it easier for the new users to complete their applications.
+ Rural and semi-urban youth applying for government colleges.
+ Parents applying for their kids’ admission.
Users with a lack of experience of using the internet and a clear disconnect between online forms and paper, thereby increasing the cognitive load to complete the application process.
During the research, we identified problems ranging from ease of filling forms to the challenges linked to every control type. Once the initial stage was completed we classified them into categories, making it easier to define the solutions by functional and aesthetical changes. All this helped us to work on the final structure and visual style of the forms.
Observations and Feedback
The key findings from the research revealed that a large number of applicants filling the applications for government colleges were from small cities and villages where the internet penetration is low. The applicants were using public cyber cafes to fill the forms and the transition from paper forms to digital forms was quite overwhelming for them. Similar, trends appeared while going through the customer support logs where applicants were calling in to get support for simple problems.
Based on the research and findings we decided to work on the core functionality of the forms and the overall design of the forms. To make things easier and relatable, we designed a system which directly related to the structure of paper forms with multiple blocks together. This approach reduced the length of the forms however, the initial design looked quite busy so we worked on a grid structure with rules of grouping the control types together for better visual aesthetic and ease of use. Several layers of assistive functioning were added based on common problems and mistakes by applicants while filling the forms.
The control elements were designed to have a direct impact on the form filling experience to reduce the mistakes which we observed during our research. One such example was the “date of birth” field where the applicants used to hover over the date elements (month, year) but didn’t click on them to be registered in the system. This led to default date being saved on the application, creating a huge problem in processing them, since the date of birth governs a lot of criteria based decisions. Hence a design with a visual interface for the date selection was introduced, giving direct feedback to the applicant while entering the dates along with important info about the application, exam dates etc. Similarly, other control elements were crafted for a better experience along with a feedback system (tips and suggestions) while entering the data in the fields.
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