This is a sample of a paper form that allows users to submit planning applications. The forms run from 5 pages to 20 and would typically take 10-15 minutes for a domain expert to complete.
The online version, however, has slowed the application process and now it takes users 3 times as long.
This is because:
- The form is split into many pages
- The user cannot strike through sections not applicable to him or her
- There are pages containing only a few form fields; screens are not input rich like they are on paper
- Validation rules are used to decide which parts of the form to render next/ validate input
Could the online system could be improved by mimicking the paper form? Obviously field alignments and readability could be improved and validation needs to be taken into account, but the whole concept of ‘here is the paper form on the screen for you to fill out’ is an interesting concept.
But what do you think? Why is it that in 2015 an online application is more of a burden to fill out than the paper form?