When I get a bill from my doctor’s office in the mail, the
form they enclose to return for payment is almost completely unmanageable. No matter how small I write, I’ve never been
able to get my name to fit in the space provided.
The line for the credit card number is even smaller and more
restrictive. There’s no online payment
option, no return envelope and most surprisingly, no office address mentioned
anywhere on the form.
I wonder if the doctor has ever tried to fill out his own
When you create a form for customers or an application for
students, take the time to fill it out yourself before you start using it. Are the instructions clear? Is there enough space to fill in the
information you’re asking for? If it’s
an online form and something goes wrong, does your error message give them any
helpful information, or does it just say, “There was an error processing your
Even better—ask a friend who’s not familiar with the form or
your institution to fill out your form.
What might make perfect sense to you (or to the person who wrote the
form) could be less intuitive to a stranger.