Ram Yoga recently pointed me to project ELMER: a set of Web form guidelines developed for the public sector in Norway. ELMER outlines a common framework for page layout and form interactions and Norway is one of few countries with a coherent set of rules for public forms online.
The ELMER Web form guidelines (in English) (PDF 1 MB):
From the preface:
"Simplification of public forms is important to improve communication between the users and the public sector. The proceeding transition to electronic reporting may be an important simplification measure for the respondents, but only if the Internet-based solutions are felt to be more user friendly than the old paper versions. By applying good pedagogical principles, electronic forms may also ensure a better understanding of the task, better control of the data before submission, and by that even better response quality and more efficient processing by the relevant authority."