80 million U.S. taxpayers file their federal income tax using Form 1040. Instruction book is updated annually to reflect new legislation. 1977 is the last revision of the Form 1040 and instructions.
How can the Form 1040 instructions be improved? What are the best practices for design and content of tax instructions? Can a set of principles for design and content of instructions be derived from the research? How do the current instructions compare with Best Practices and Research Principles?
Taxpayers rarely read tax instructions for pleasure or entertainment Taxpayers read only as much as necessary—if that! Taxpayers read to Find information Make a decision Act
Identified 51 jurisdictions Analyzed samples for visual elements Analyzed samples for written message structure
Considered graphic design and navigational cues Considered cognitive theory— comprehension, literacy, and readability Considered language—word, sentence, paragraph, document levels and how to write instructions
Solicited other experts to confirm approach and findings Tested our hypotheses
State Best Practices Alabama Connecticut Illinois Minnesota New York N. Dakota Oklahoma Oregon Utah Virginia Other Country Best Practices Australia Netherlands New Zealand
Visual Communication: Page Layout GridlinesTypographyColor & White SpaceVisual UnityFocal PointHierarchy Visual Communication: Visual Cues IconsTablesWorksheetsChecklistsAssemblyHierarchy Written Communication: Navigational Cues Section DividersTable of ContentsBulletsIndex Written Communication: Message Structure Advance OrganizersDefinitions Complex Conditionals & decision Trees Sentence Characteristics Readability vs. Usability Search Complexity Sequencing of Information
Theoretical constructs of visual and written communication translate into practical application Confirmation Best Practices Examples are best practices Validation
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” - Albert Einstein
Health Canada has suspended marketing of Adderall XR products from the Canadian market due to concern about reports of sudden unexplained death (SUD) in children taking Adderall and Adderall XR. SUD has been associated with amphetamine abuse and reported in children with underlying cardiac abnormalities taking recommended doses of amphetamines, including Adderall and Adderall XR. In addition, a very small number of cases of SUD have been reported in children without cardiac abnormalities taking Adderall. At this time, FDA cannot conclude that recommended doses of Adderall can cause SUD, but is continuing to carefully evaluate these data.
Status Health Canada no longer allows marketing in Canada of Adderall XR products Reason Some children taking Adderall XR have died suddenly and without apparent cause. A sudden unexplained death (SUD) has occurred with three types of medical conditions: 1.In children with an abuse of amphetamines 2.In Children with underlying cardiac abnormalities and who are taking recommended doses of Adderall And Adderal XR, and 3.In a very small number of children without underlying abnormalities The Future FDA is looking at these data, but cannot conclude that recommended doses of Adderall can cause SUD. FDA will update this information when we learn more.
Set up and marked a predictable structure Categorized info according to consumer questions: What? Why? When? Numbered and stacked the conditions Visual Simplified and reduced words Shortened and simplified sentence structure Moved implicit to explicit Written