Thursday, 9 January 2014

Make data collection easy with Google Forms

Yesterday, I was playing around with my Google Drive account and came across something which really engaged my geek brain about the possible applications of it, and that was Google Forms.

What this is essentially is a very simple way of building a form in a web page with different types of fields (text, date, dropdown etc), the results of which are automatically stored in a spreadsheet in your Google Drive.

It's that integration bit that's very powerful, because if, say, you want to set up a survey on an event you just held, you can quickly knock together a form and send the link to your attendees. All the responses will be stored in a spreadsheet which you can either use within the Google environment or download for offline processing. We are now going to start using it within my rowing club for signing up for regattas and the like.

I'd particularly like to see Google add in a feature which allows you to use data from another spreadsheet as the source for dropdown lists. It would then become very powerful - you'd be able to do things like have a private form for logging sales calls or time spent on projects, essentially allowing the microbusiness owner to use Google spreadsheets in a much more flexible way for managing their business information without having to invest in specialist software.

Hmm, mental cogs whirring here. Expect more on the applications of Google Drive and Google Apps...

PS Yes I know this is my first post for 15 months, New Year's resolution, get back blogging :-)