Best Practices for Creating and Formatting Forms
Before we discuss best practices, take a moment to learn the basics. Google provides literature and resources to help you get started with understanding the basics of Google Forms. Since Google Support does a fabulous job explaining how to create forms using the new enhanced Forms, visit their page for basic how-to instructions. Once you’ve updated youself on the basics, we can move on to the best practices.
1) Google has added functionality to Forms that saves you time! You can now copy & paste a list of question responses right into your Form. To learn how to take advantage of this feature, watch this quick video. It’s like magic!
2) We are all familiar with how easy it is to collaborate with your colleagues on projects using Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Now, the same is true of Forms! So share the work my friends, and enlist the help of your co-workers on that next customer survey.
To share your Form, go to ‘File’ and select ‘Share’. From there, the familiar ‘Share Settings’ box will appear and you can add the email address of your co-worker.
Now, when others are viewing the Form, you can see exactly where they are working by looking for the colored bar. As you can see below, the colored bars, blue and green, indicate which questions are being editing.
3) Next on our list of best practices is the practice of tailoring your questions. Now available in Forms is the option to direct users or respondents to a specific set of follow up questions based on their response to a previous question. This new enhancement allows you to collect more specific information from your users. For example, if a customer responds “Great! I am very happy with the service I received” on our Customer Survey question “Please rate Dito’s service over the last month”, we would want to capture what made the service exceptional. To collect this information, we will need to edit our original form. First we will create the follow up questions on a new page to ensure users will be routed correctly. To begin, click the ‘Add item’ button at the bottom of the main section of questions on the original form. This will automatically create a new untitled page. Next, name the page and click ‘Done’.
Note: If you plan on creating an involved Form with multiple pages, consider naming the additional pages with the exact response and question location. You can also enter details in the ‘Description’ section to help differentiate your pages. For our example, we will name the new page “Great! They’ve been very helpful.” This will help us stay organized in the future.
Once you’ve created and named your new page, enter the follow up questions you want to ask your respondents. For our example, we will ask the following questions.
- Please share why the service was exceptional.
- Would you like to participate in one of our webinars?
Next, you will need to edit the original question’s response navigation. To do this, first select the Pencil or Edit button to the right of the question.
Next, check the box ‘Go to page based on answer’. From there, select the name of the page you just created from the drop down box to the right of the response.
For our example, we will select ‘Go to page 2 (Great! They’ve been very helpful.)’ which will allow us to collect more information on their experience. And that's it! You've now created your first navigation path.
In the image above you can see an example of what a new page will look like when finished. With Forms, you can create a number of specialized navigation paths for your users. For our question of “Please rate Dito’s services over this month?”, we would also want to setup a separate navigation path for those users that responded that they received poor service. This would allow us to remedy the situation.
Be sure to review Google Support, Control your forms page-to-page navigation for additional instructions on how to setup navigation within your form.
4) The last best practice we will cover are the updated distribution options now available in Forms. To share or distribute the form, simply click the ‘Send form’ button located in the ‘Confirmation Page’ at the very bottom of the form.
Here you can see the options to share the form on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and via email. Take advantage of these options! People are more likely to complete your form if it’s included directly in your post.
To send your Form via email, enter the address in the field below, ‘Send form via email:’. Once you click in that field, you will see the ‘Customize message and subject’ options. Click the triangle button to the left of ‘Customize message and subject’ to enter your email subject and content. Next, hit ‘Send’. Your form will be embedded in the email directly below any content you entered in the ‘Custom message:’ box
Benefits for Each Response Destination
One of the other enhancements to forms is the, ‘Choose response destination’ option. This button is located at the top, center of your form. For more information and instructions on the options, please review Google Support’s, “Choose a form response destination.” Here we will outline why you may want to use each of the options and why you may want to switch between options.
1) ‘Store responses in a new spreadsheet’ - This is the option that we are familiar with using in the old version of Forms. All information is automatically populated to a spreadsheet with the same functionalities that we are accustomed to. This format is great for an event registration list where you want or need to be notified each time someone registers. You can set that notification in your spreadsheet under ‘Tools’ > ‘Notification Rules’.
2) ‘Keep responses only in forms’ - This option is new and will allow you to collect more than 400,000 cells of response data. If you are sending out a survey to a large quantity of respondents, this is the best option for you. You will be able to download the response data as a CSV and the ‘Summary of responses’ will be listed under ‘Responses’ in the form. You will also be able to see how many people have completed your form as it will be included in parenthesis listed next to ‘Responses’.
3) Why would you want to ‘Change response destination’? This option is perfect if you will be reusing a Form. An example of this would be a monthly customer survey. To make a copy of your survey, go to ‘File’ and select ‘Make a Copy’. Rename the survey and select ‘Choose response destination’ > ‘New spreadsheet’.
This will allow you to keep your response data from each monthly survey in a separate spreadsheet. With this option, you wouldn’t have to reinvent the Form.
You can also switch the destination of responses. For example, we could switch the destination of March Customer Survey responses to be included in our 'List of Survey Recipients 3/12' spreadsheet. This will allow us to quickly access all of our customer data. To do this, you simply select ‘Response’ > ‘Change response destination’ and select the ‘New sheet in an existing spreadsheet’.
From there, you will be prompted to select the appropriate spreadsheet from your Drive. For our example, we would select the ‘List of Survey Recipients 3/12’ spreadsheet. This will ensure all March survey responses are collected within a new tab in the ‘Recipients’ spreadsheet.
Thanks for reading all the way through this post! We covered just a few examples of how you can harness the power of the new enhancements to Google Forms. If you would like to learn more about the training opportunities available to your organization, please visit our website’s Change Management section. A one hour webinar is a great way to ensure your staff is getting the most out of Google Forms and the many other Google Apps.
As always we would love to hear how you are using Google Apps in your business, so please comment below. And don’t forget, if you have any questions, we have "Dito Blog Office Hours” every Thurs, from 11-12pm est.