How digitising offline forms can help grow your business
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.