How to decide on flow
Slot gameDecide on flow using a ‘bottom-up’ — rather than ‘top-down’ — process:
- decide on the list of questions to ask, including any eligibility questions plus conditional questions and their corresponding triggers (see the section on Conditional fields in )
- work out what would be a logical order for those questions (see Question order in Flow of forms)
- look for natural groupings for questions (for example, putting all questions about the mother together, or putting all contact detail questions together). 'Natural' here means natural to the form-filler, not government
- put the eligibility questions at the start as a single step
- review the number of steps that would result if each group of remaining questions were given its own step and, if needed, combine or split steps (see Number of steps in Flow of forms).
- avoid splitting topics across a step
- if whole steps are conditional, consider having the corresponding trigger questions at the start of the form, to tailor the experience (see Eligibility versus tailoring in ).
To determine question order, the best way to think about the form is as a conversation. The key principles of successful conversations that apply to forms are:
- Follow the form-filler’s natural train of thought. For example, when registering a birth, form- filler’s are likely to be thinking of the baby first, then probably the mother, then the second parent.
- Collect ‘core’ information first, then ‘collect’ supplementary information. For example, in a complaint form, the ‘core’ is the complaint itself, whereas the supplementary information is the complainant’s contact information. This is a particular instance of following the form-filler’s natural train of thought.
- Ask simpler, easier and less intrusive questions before complex, difficult and intrusive questions. This eases the form-filler into the process.
- Ask anticipated questions before surprising ones. Dissatisfaction comes from not meeting expectations.
- Ask questions applicable to everyone first, then ask questions applicable to only some form-fillers.
- The more related two questions are, the closer they should be to each other.
- Be consistent in question and sub-question order. For example, if you collect email before phone in one part of the form, collect email before phone in other parts of the form.
These principles are summarised in this diagram:
Reviewed 20 July 2020