Whether it is for compliance, reporting, quality assurance or any of a myriad of other reasons, filling in forms and checklist as well as then storing them once completed has become a burden for many businesses. Whenever this is brought up someone will inevitably suggest “Lets got ditigal”.
Why go digital you ask?
- There is no need to store the paper form and completed forms can simply be searched.
- You never forget or run out of printed forms.
- Rolling out a new form can be done without printing out the new forms and destroying the old paper ones.
As compelling as the reasons for going digital with your forms/checklists are, at Xelleron we have been discussing why going digital has not happened with a wide range of business owners.
Business owners voiced the following reason for not going digital:
- We tried it but the solution was too difficult to use and my clients and/or staff gave up in frustration.
- I couldn’t read the questions.
- It didn’t work on our mobile phones.
- I don’t know which online solution suits my business.
- It’s too expensive.
Enough dry reading, lets dive into a couple of case studies:
Case Study 1: KISS the App
Using a new forms and/or checklist application can be daunting. They are often generic with a one-size-fits-all design with lots of bells and whistles which at the end of the day can be confusing and are mostly not needed in your business.
Let’s look at a blue-collar business such as a painting business. Their paper checklist looks as follows:
This is quite a simple checklist and the crew (painters and apprentices) working for the business just filled it out for the job.
The business owner then checked the results and stored them for future reference.
The key with getting both of these two user types to use a digital solution such as a Web application was to make it easy for the crew to use in the field and for the business owner to set up the relevant checklists per job.
In effect, two separate looking applications were needed depending on the user.
The crew are painting experts but administration is not their expertise. They wanted the app to just show the checklists they needed to run each day.
It was also apparent, that the checklist was in fact too complex and needed to be broken up into simpler “Pre-start”, “End of Day”, “End of Week” and “Completion” checklists. Simpler checklists reduced the amount of details shown on the phone which we found one of the keys to successfully having the Crew actually fill it out.
The crew also wanted easy access to pre-filled forms such as Job sheets, Working At Heights, SWMS etc.
Business Owner View
The business owner needed to setup each job, assign checklists and upload any relevant certifications such as Working At Heights, SWMS etc so that the crew could show these pre-filled out forms to any onsite supervisors.
The view for the business owner was therefore slightly more complex than the crews.
A picture is worth a 1000 words, to sweeten the incentive to going digital it was important to be able to take pictures of issues and have them appear in the resultant pdf report. A sample pdf report which can be emailed to the client as needed is shown below.
Being able to email the pdf report to the client in the event of any questions, issues or dispute was a final side benefit of going digital.
Case Study 2: Kiss the Forms
Paper forms can be quite complex. Take for example a compliance checklist a teacher needs to fill out when inspecting a school playground each month as shown below:
Walking around a playground outdoors in the middle of the day using a mobile to fill out forms is challenging.
To make it easier the forms needed:
- Short and clear questions.
- Large check boxes
- Flexible addition of pictures and notes for issues.
Similar to the painter crew, it was important to make it as easy as possible for the teacher to understand the app by just showing what they needed most. It was only used once per month and its easy to forget, particularly when doing inspections is not really in a teachers job description. In this case the most important item was what inspection needed to be done on what playground and when it was due.
The need for a nice pdf report was again a given and a sample is shown below.