Caroline Jarrett – CV

Caroline Jarrett 

Caroline JarrettCaroline Jarrett is the leading specialist in the design of forms and accessible services, taking an iterative approach based on user research.  


MA Mathematics, Oxford University
MBA, Open University
Diploma in Statistics, Open University

Career Summary: 

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: 

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”. 

Employment history 

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 /
Project Manager  
1987 – 1992  S-Com Computer Systems Engineers Limited  General Manager /
Software Development Manager /
Project Manager 
1983 – 1987  Unico Incorporated  Software Department Manager /
Software Engineer 
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
Chartered Engineer
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