How digi­tis­ing of­fline forms can help grow your busi­ness

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

This ar­ti­cle is de­signed to walk you through Codebots’ forms be­hav­iour - what it does and how it can be used. Hopefully you have some back­ground knowl­edge of Codebots. If not, I’ll do my best to give you a very brief overview of Codebots. Codebots is a plat­form as a ser­vice that al­lows users to build soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tions with the help of code writ­ing bots. WorkingMouse uses Codebots to de­liver client pro­jects faster and bet­ter than tra­di­tional de­vel­op­ment.

A be­hav­iour is func­tion­al­ity that the bots know how to write. By adding the forms be­hav­iour into your ap­pli­ca­tion, the bot will write all the func­tion­al­ity needed to cap­ture data from your users and store it in the data­base. The data can then be in­ter­ro­gated/​ma­nip­u­lated with cus­tom code.

How do dig­i­tal forms help busi­nesses?

We will dive deeper into the dif­fer­ent use cases for forms shortly. Firstly, think about your busi­ness and whether you col­lect data from em­ploy­ees or clients. Can this be stream­lined by col­lect­ing that data us­ing web forms? Or, do you need a way to ed­u­cate users through dif­fer­ent types of con­tent (eg. text, video, quizzes)? For the ma­jor­ity of busi­nesses, the an­swer to one of these ques­tions will be yes.

1. How MyLeap used the forms be­hav­iour

The MyLeap ap­pli­ca­tion is an on­line learn­ing and be­hav­ioural change plat­form. The scope of the work was to pro­vide con­tent dig­i­tally in an easy to di­gest man­ner. It also needed to be highly cus­tomis­able so fu­ture con­tent could be cre­ated and re­leased to users.

What users see

What we cre­ated for cus­tomers was a form with slide logic that could be com­pleted while notes were taken. It was setup to share con­tent on a spe­cific topic. If a user wants to learn about the best way to ap­proach dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions then they se­lect that sub­ject as their learn­ing fo­cus - en­gag­ing with the con­tent through text, im­ages, videos and tasks.

How it’s con­fig­ured by the soft­ware ad­min­is­tra­tor

While the front end is im­por­tant for en­gag­ing your users, the real power of the forms be­hav­iour comes in the ad­min­is­tra­tors abil­ity to cus­tomise. The process of con­fig­ur­ing a form is shown in the video be­low. A new ver­sion could be cre­ated with up­dated con­tent or pre­vi­ous/​cur­rent ver­sions of a form could be down­loaded as a PDF. As the num­ber of learn­ing ar­eas grows MyLeap is not forced to re-en­gage with a soft­ware de­vel­oper every time (which sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces the long term costs of the soft­ware). There was a com­plex hi­er­ar­chy struc­ture that was de­vel­oped as part of this pro­ject which saw rel­e­vant ma­te­r­ial grouped to­gether. This cus­tom busi­ness logic was solved us­ing cus­tom code, writ­ten by a WorkingMouse de­vel­oper that un­der­stood the pur­pose of the ap­pli­ca­tion.

It’s clear to see the flex­i­bil­ity and power of the forms be­hav­iour. Highly cus­tomis­able and con­fig­urable at run time means that you don’t need to re-en­gage your soft­ware de­vel­oper every time you need to up­date some­thing. Consider your dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion strat­egy and whether the forms be­hav­iour can help you bet­ter en­gage with clients or im­prove your in­ter­nal process.

2. Using the forms be­hav­iour for your pro­ject

A. Setup

The process of im­ple­ment­ing forms in your ap­pli­ca­tion is sim­ple. During WorkingMouse’s Scoping process, one of the arte­facts pro­duced is a built out ini­tial model of your ap­pli­ca­tion, iden­ti­fy­ing be­hav­iours that may be used. In the in­ter­est of trans­parency, we will step through the process.

Step 1: Unpack your re­quire­ments

In or­der to pro­ceed to step 2, the re­quire­ments of the ap­pli­ca­tion must be de­tailed. This is done dur­ing the dis­cov­ery phase of WorkingMouse’s scop­ing process. We rec­om­mend firstly break­ing the re­quire­ments into high level epics be­fore go­ing into more de­tail through user sto­ries. These re­quire­ments can be stored on the Codebots li­brary or other tools like Jira/Confluence.

Step 2: Create your schema

Now that you have a good un­der­stand­ing of what func­tion­al­ity is re­quired, cre­ate the ar­chi­tec­ture of your ap­pli­ca­tion. In the im­age be­low you can see a very ba­sic model of an ap­pli­ca­tion. This is nor­mally done by a WorkingMouse so­lu­tion ar­chi­tect but can be done by any­one with a good knowl­edge of the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Image

Step 3: Add the forms be­hav­iour

Add the forms be­hav­iour to one or mul­ti­ple en­ti­ties. In our ex­am­ple be­low, you can see that it has been added to the FormsDemo en­tity. Once it’s been added in the schema, cre­ate a page with the forms tile in the user in­ter­face model.

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Once that’s been done and you’ve con­fig­ured the se­cu­rity model, you’re ready to build.

In this next sec­tion we will show what a com­pletely bot-writ­ten soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tion us­ing forms looks like. Keep in mind that this is be­fore WorkingMouse’s de­vel­op­ers have cus­tomised and styled the func­tion­al­ity to match the busi­ness process.

B. Configuration

Without any cus­tom code or the in­ter­ven­tion of WorkingMouse de­vel­op­ers, the forms be­hav­iour al­lows you to cre­ate and edit (at run time) forms that can be dis­trib­uted to users on the front end. The video be­low demon­strates the func­tion­al­ity of the forms be­hav­iour in our bot writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion.

To let you con­fig­ure your own cus­tom form, we’ve de­ployed our 100% code­bot writ­ten ap­pli­ca­tion to pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ment. You can ac­cess it be­low. Please watch the video and read be­low for lo­gin cre­den­tials.


http://​forms­demo.work­ing­mouse.com.au/
Username: su­per@ex­am­ple.com
Password: pass­word

C. Customisation

Customisation is per­haps the most pow­er­ful fea­ture of the forms be­hav­iour. Your busi­ness process is unique. It’s likely the rea­son you’ve been able to grow a sus­tain­able busi­ness. Rather than have to change that process to fit an off the shelf ver­sion of forms - WorkingMouse changes the soft­ware to fit the busi­ness needs.

Popular cus­tomi­sa­tions in­clude:

  • API in­te­gra­tion - send­ing the data from your forms to an­other sys­tem.
  • Security mod­i­fi­ca­tions - mod­i­fy­ing the vis­i­bil­ity or con­tent of forms based on user per­mis­sion level.
  • Custom ques­tions - unique ways of in­putting or dis­play­ing data through cus­tom ques­tions.

Importantly, the forms be­hav­iour can be ap­plied for a num­ber of dif­fer­ent busi­ness prob­lems. If you’re in­ter­ested in see­ing whether it can solve your busi­ness prob­lem or want a live demo of the be­hav­iour, con­tact us.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yianni Stergou

Marketing en­thu­si­ast and FIFA ex­tra­or­di­naire

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