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Questionnaire colour and shading

Use colour and shading to distinguish between different elements in the questionnaire and provide contrast between background, text, and answer spaces.

Questionnaire colour

The requirements for the colour to be used for particular questionnaires are related to imaging requirements for scanned questionnaires.

Shading

Use shading consistently to distinguish between different elements in the questionnaire.

Use shading to emphasise information the respondent needs to see, and de-emphasise the information the respondent does not need to see. For example, use a lighter shade for office use only information.

Leave all answer spaces white. White answer spaces help respondents to quickly find where they are required to answer, as well as alerting them to any unanswered questions when they have finished completing the questionnaire.

Shade question number boxes, heading and subheading banners, routing instructions and arrows, at 100 percent of the form colour.

The recommended shade weights (of the form colour) for the other elements are as follows:

  • Page background – 5 percent
  • Instruction boxes – 10 percent
  • Shaded stripes (if used) – 10 percent (see section 8.8 for more information on shaded stripes)
  • Question panes – 15 percent
  • Reminder 'bubble' instructions – 10 percent (a lighter shaded bubble at 10 percent is preferred, but a darker shaded bubble at 30 percent is acceptable if this is required to achieve sufficient contrast from the question pane).

If sufficient contrast between elements on the questionnaire has not been achieved using the recommended shading, the shades can be deepened provided that neighbouring shades (including 0 percent) are no more than 15 percent points apart in density.

Example of shading

 Image, Example of shading.

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