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Let's take a quick look at a finished form and see how it's laid out, this might give you some ideas about building your own forms. At the top of the form, there is some information about why they'd want to fill out the form, and you notice these numbers at the left, sort of leads the user to do the right thing, fill out their Contact information, what they like to donate so forth and so on. It's very clear there is a lot of open space, there is plenty of space for them to put their names, etcetera. At the bottom there is a separate area for Method of Payment, little area for Signature, so forth and so on. This replicates a real world printed, paper form, and so it's familiar to users who have used it before, but for somebody who is just coming at it fresh, it's really obvious what the user ought to do.
And it's sort of ironic that when you are designing interactive documents of any kind, whether it's PDF form or even HTML web pages, it's up to you to make it ease for the guy on the other side of the screen. So you have to sort of anticipate how someone you don't know is going to react to the way you have laid this out. One of the things that happens in an Acrobat form that's kind of nice is its fields are highlighted, notice they all have this sort of light blue highlight. Look at the upper right of the Acrobat and you will see Highlight Existing Fields. You can turn that off if it bothers you, but anytime somebody opens up an Acrobat form, whether they are opening it in Acrobat Pro or in the free Adobe Reader, fields are going to be highlighted in blue, and that helps them discover what they are supposed to do with the form.
So this is one of the many things that Acrobat does to make life easier for people who have to fill out forms. So I just want you to take a quick look at this, just notice how nicely it's laid out, how it leads the user to do the right thing, and keep these concepts in mind when you start designing your own forms.
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