Best Practices for Converting Paper to Mobile Forms

One of the first questions people ask when beginning the process of replacing their paper forms with mobile forms is, 'what's the best way to create awesome mobile versions of my forms?' Below are some key questions to consider asking yourself, and our answers based on best practices that we have compiled over the years: 

  1. How important is preserving your existing layout?

    • Many businesses have been using the same paper forms for years if not decades. Their service team/technicians - the people filling the forms out - are use to the traditional look and feel. It’s a familiar dailey tool. Making them use a whole new layout may unessarily disrupt their daily tasks (causing a negative impact) and may lead to costly training on a new format. It may even break existing dependencies and workflows that are hard to identify.

  2. What new types of data do you want to capture?

    • Because Mobile forms are filled out on tablet devices like iPads, you can now easily include new data types like GPS, maps, date/time and camera images. These new types of data can provide a whole new level of information in your forms. Consider which ones you might want to augment your forms with.

  3. What are your considerations for Cloud Storage?

    • When you use mobile forms, you can leverage storing your forms and form data in the cloud. You can easily retrieve and run reports on them. You should consider naming conventions, tagging and other standard user permissions that best fit your needs.

  4. What workflows should you set up?

    • Mobile forms provides endless opportunities to automate workflows. For example, you can now instantly submit completed forms for review/processing (instead of having to manually turn in a form). You can also automate emailing copies of a form to your customer or managers. Mobile Form Platforms also allows you to sync your data with other systems like Salesforce and Box. Consider which workflows you can optimize with Mobile Forms.

  5. What calculations and conditional logic should you implement?

    • Now that you can automate calculations in mobile forms, you don’t have to do the math anymore. When setting up a mobile form, be sure to embed formulas for automating your totals, scores, and percentages. With conditional logic, based on what is entered in one field, the mobile form can populate multiple fields with appropriate corresponding values. (For example, enter a company name and the form populates address, phone, and email.) You can also enforce business rules by making fields conditionally required or even hidden based on values entered in specific fields.