Screenshot of IU Libraries image digitization request form

form design as service design

In Spring 2022, IU Libraries began offering a digitization service for 33mm slides and printed photographs. They took over this service from a different unit on campus and approached me to adapt these three documents for the IU Libraries’ website (which built on Drupal) to explain the service. The service, as described in these documents, was unclear and difficult to access. By re-interpreting and re-formatting the original documents, I re-designed the service into a web-first and user-centered offering.


The gallery shows screenshots of the initial three documents I was given to upload onto the library website that a user would need to read and, in the case of the Excel forms, download, fill out, and email to the Visual Resources Librarian.

End Result

View and interact with the end result Image Digitization Request Form on the IU Libraries’ website.

Web First

Using Excel spreadsheets that a user has to download, open in a spreadsheet application (that they might or might not have on the device they are using), fill out, and then email to the service provider creates a barrier to accessing this image digitization service. In the screenshots above of both Excel forms, the use of small text and a complex layout makes the Excel form difficult to interact with. By placing all content about the service’s policy in a separate document, a user has to potentially toggle between the policy’s text and the act of filling out the form. By transitioning these Excel forms into a single webform, I created a web-first experience for users accessing this service. All of the policy content was placed above the webform.

user-centered Language

Designing a webform around the user needs allowed me to remove extraneous, confusing language on the original Excel form. For example, there was an area for staff to input information on received forms. This was not information users needed so it was cut. There were also directions about how the Excel form would cut off fields. Transforming the form into a webform made it possible to cut this language as well.

I cut conflicting language around turnaround time for completing a service request from the three documents and listed the correct information once at the top of the webform.

Who is the Audience?

The old policy document and Excel forms did not clearly state who the primary audience for this service is: faculty who want to use digitized images in their research and teaching. The first sentence of the webform that describes the service now states that it is for “educational, non-commercial use for faculty”. To faciliate easier use by faculty, the webform also links to the end home of digitized images: ArtStor SharedShelf.

Form Logic

The policy on image collection also included language about requesting images for purchase by IU Libraries. Instead of creating a new form, the existing purchase recommendation form was modified to accept image recommendations and the resulting image digitization webform linked to the purchase recommendation form as a related service.

The two Excel forms were condensed into a single form and users were asked to choose which medium of image they wanted digitized (35mm slides or printed photographs) and depending on their answer they were presented with the other fields needed to complete the service request.

A composite element was also built into the form so that users could submit a digitization request for up to forty items of each medium with one form (see form behavior demoed in the gifs).

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