MA Mathematics, Oxford University
MBA, Open University
Diploma in Statistics, Open University
After 13 years as a project manager of computer systems integration projects, Caroline founded Effortmark Limited in order to concentrate on ‘what users need’ instead of ‘how the system is put together’.
Through her work in with the United Kingdom tax authorities, she became fascinated with forms and now specialises in helping organisations to make forms more effective, Her work spans all the types of design that will improve forms, including interaction design, content design and service design.
She is convinced that user-centred design is the best way to achieve systems and forms that are easier to use, so she works with organisations to help them establish their own user-centred design teams through consultancy, training and mentoring.
Her clients for tax forms advice and training include (UK) HM Revenue and Customs, (USA) the Internal Revenue Service and the Australian Tax Office. Other government clients include the Ministry of Justice, the FSA, the Small Business Service, Oxfordshire County Council and East Sussex County Council. UK clients include the Open University, Royal Mail and Cancer Research UK. Her international clients include the European Bioinformatics Institute, Credit Suisse, IEEE, GEICO and the Mayo Clinic.
She worked with the UK Government Digital Service as a forms and survey specialist: contributing to the Design Patterns and GOV.UK Elements; working with the Verify team to improve the user experience of the Identity Provider journeys; and with the Design team on the patterns themselves, the associated training, and the discussions within the Design Patterns hackpad.
More recently, she worked with DEFRA on its Future Farming and Countryside Programme for England, and for NHS Digital on its service manual.
Speaking and publications
Caroline is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and author. Her latest book is Surveys that work: a practical guide for designing and running better surveys. She is also co-author of two books:
- “Forms that work: Designing Web Forms for Usability”
- the textbook “User Interface Design and Evaluation”
She has contributed chapters to several other books and regularly writes articles for professional media. Full list of publications and presentations.
Mentoring and academic service
Throughout her career, Caroline has mentored and encouraged colleagues at all levels. She has been a manuscript reviewer for many books and articles, including helping Steve Krug with the 2nd and 3rd editions of his popular usability book “Don’t Make Me Think: A Commonsense Guide to Web Usability” and his book on usability testing “Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems”.
|Since 1994||Effortmark Limited||Forms Specialist; designer, content designer and user researcher.|
|1992 – 2002||Open University (part-time)||Associate Lecturer – Project Management,
User Interface Design and Development
|1992 – 1994||Bull Information Systems Limited, delivering systems to the Inland Revenue||Business Process Consultant /
|1987 – 1992||S-Com Computer Systems Engineers Limited||General Manager /
Software Development Manager /
|1983 – 1987||Unico Incorporated||Software Department Manager /
|1980 – 1983||Thorn EMI Micrologic||Project Manager / Software Engineer|
Selection of project experience
|Government Digital Service (Design)||Working on design patterns and tools for designers and front-end developers; a combination of design, user research and training.|
|Government Digital Service (Verify)||Forms studios with Identity Providers (IDPs); helping with the design and implementation of the UX Gate process that ensured that IDPs adopted a user-centred design process for their journeys; creating and testing design patterns relevant to IDP journeys.|
|Government Digital Service (surveys)||Survey specialist within GDS; advising on the design of internal and external surveys; helping the team to consider other ways of gathering data when surveys are inappropriate.|
|Government Digital Service (services)||User researcher within the Transformation team, leading to work as a panel member for service assessment, representing user research, design, accessibility and assisted digital aspects of service design.|
|European Bioinformatics Institute||Training in writing and editing for the web and in survey design for bioinformatics scientists and for developers of complex tools to support bioinformatics research|
|Royal Mail||Redesign of the mail redirection forms|
|GEICO (USA)||Expert advice on the interaction design of difficult questions within complex insurance application forms|
|Field Guides to Voter Intent (USA)||Expert advice for the guide on Creating Forms That Helps Voters Take Action and backing of the overall series of Field Guides, recently selected for a major exhibition on design at the Smithsonian Institution.|
|Credit Suisse||Expert advice on the interaction design of their online forms and style guide|
|Brennan Center for Justice (USA)||Expert advice for a major investigation into design of ballots: “Better Design, Better Election”|
|IEEE (USA)||Redesign of the membership retention and application forms for one of the world’s largest professional organisations after an initial attempt to move them online proved problematic|
|The Mayo Clinic||Training for the forms team within one of the USA’s most prestigious healthcare providers|
|The Electoral Commission||User research on the design of ballots and associated voting materials|
|Society for Technical Communication||Project manager and curator of the first Body of Knowledge of Technical Communication|
|Cancer Research UK||Training in usability testing, mentoring the team as they learned their own testing, design advice and prototyping for ‘Race for Life’ entry forms and associated forms.|
|The Open University||Information architecture and content rationalisation for The Open University’s web sites|
|HM Revenue and Customs||Researching best practices in tax return design, used in a major redesign of the UK Tax Return|
|USA Internal Revenue Service||Usability training, consultancy on the USA tax return (1040), expert advisor to a panel designing a new 1040X.|
|East Sussex County Council||Training in usability testing and mentoring their initial usability tests.|
|The Oxfordshire Gateway||Expert inspection of designs for a portal to a consortium of government web sites in Oxfordshire|
|Financial Services Authority||Expert inspection of a suite of complex application forms; design mentoring of the project that provided online versions of the forms.|
|Oxfordshire County Council||Training in forms design and usability testing|
|Standard Life of Canada||Expert inspection and mentoring for redesign of a complex life insurance application form|
|Nationwide Building Society||Training in usability of forms|
|Inland Revenue||Development of a ‘Body of Knowledge’ of forms usability, training and mentoring in Forms Unit|
|Open University||Consultancy and usability training by skills transfer for administrative web sites and forms|
|Inland Revenue||Self-assessment: design and conduct of prototypes, tests and trials for the biggest change in the UK tax system since the introduction of PAYE|
|Inland Revenue||Optical character recognition systems for dealing with tax forms|
|Rank Xerox||Large-scale capture of patents for the European Patent Office|
|Northern Telecom||Multiplexer network management system.|
|S-Com CSE Ltd||Quality control system based on ISO 9001/BS 5750. Reduced defects in delivered systems to 1% of original level|
|London Buses Ltd||Route Controllers’ workstations. Installed in 50 garages, communicating with radios installed in 3000 buses.|
|British Gas||Dispatcher Workstation for data over radio.|
|British Steel||Process control system for cold-rolled steel sections, flying cut-off and stacker.|
|Abbey Corrugated||Corrugated cardboard cut-off knife control system.|
|Argos||Catalogue showroom systems and overnight polling data collection system. Project manager from bid to installation.|
|House of Fraser||Stock taking system using hand-held terminals.|
|Economist Bookshop||Book shop point of sale and database system.|
|The Design Centre||Design Centre shop point of sale and database system.|
Community service and professional memberships
Volunteered at and supporter of Woodlarks Campsite Trust, a permanent campsite for where people with disabilities can camp with their friends.
Founder Design to Read, a project of researchers, design practitioners and people with reading difficulties working together to improve design for people who do not read easily.
Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication
Member of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT
Member of the Association for Project Management
Member of the Market Research Society
Member of the User Experience Professionals’ Association (UXPA) and charter member of UXPA UK
Member of the European Survey Research Association
Member of Clarity International, advocating plain legal language
Corporate member of the Information Design Association