Lately I’ve been learning about the merits of web forms. As a user it’s something that you just take for granted. And so it should be. However for someone on the development side of things there is much more to be understood and appreciated about them.
I’ve been working quite deeply with a web service called Form Assembly. It is able to integrate with Salesforce (among other platforms) and produce fairly sophisticated forms. It’s paid for and thus on the premium side of the market.
In my own business (and personal life) however, I’ve been using Google forms. I’ve found that it provides plenty of functionality for my purposes and it works seamlessly with G-Suite (which I use for just about everything ). I was parachuted into an existing Form Assembly implementation, whereas I’ve set up my own forms from start to finish with Google forms. I feel there is an important distinction here in terms of the “wholeness” or character of your understanding about the program.
With Google Forms, simply knowing about it and finding it is half the battle – I’d never heard of it. Hence this post. It’s so intuitive and straight forward to actually set up and use that you barely need any help at all.
To find Google Forms go to the drop down menu of apps for your Google account. This can be found in the top right of the screen in your Gmail or Google drive (or any other of the apps for that matter), as pictured below. To my great ire the forms icon is purple which is not an appropriate colour for forms. Alas it cannot readily be changed.
Once in Google Forms, to create a new form press the pen in the bottom right of the page. You can also begin with an existing template and then customise it.
Building the form is simply a matter of adding and configuring questions then customising the look and feel. Everything is saved automatically and responses are kept in the Responses tab.
I’ve found one excellent usage for these forms is time sheets. Simply press Send then click the link symbol (this will generate a link to fill out the form, which is different to the form management page). Open the link in a new tab and book mark it, naming it time sheet. Add the bookmark to bookmarks bar if you wish to make super-accessible.
Alternatively open it on your mobile device and find the option to add the web page to the home page. This will generate an app-like icon which takes you straight to the form. A very quick and simple way to keep time sheets once set up; you could even do it walking to the train station or your car. You could bookmark the form management page in this way to streamline the process of sending them out etc.
In the form management page responses tab you can create a spreadsheet based on the responses so far. This is done is Sheets, so it’s very close by (in Google Drive). In Sheets you could apply formulas or create charts if you wish to take your intelligence-gathering a step further.