Making the Switch
Converting from MS Word-based or PDF forms to online forms that are part of a service management system is an opportunity to make subtle improvements that can make your business systems more efficient, more accurate and more user-friendly. Online forms can offer many advantages beyond the obvious one – the fact that they don’t clutter up your inbox.
Like PDF and Word forms, online forms use technology to make things easier for the user. Known fields can be set to auto-populate, offering time savings for the user. Online forms offer the added benefit of being connected to a larger system, setting a well-informed business process in motion. Therefore, online forms offer time savings not only for the person filling out the form, but also for everyone involved in the process that the form sets under way.
Built-in functionality makes your forms more accurate. All of the bells and whistles that made electronic forms so appealing (choice lists, date pickers, etc.) are employed to ensure accuracy. The advantage of an online forms system is that now your forms don’t have to stand alone. They function as part of a greater structure, connecting to other data sources to pull the most up to date information. This not only enhances accuracy, it means that your forms are flexible and can grow and change as you refine your business processes. With online systems, there is only one place to go when you need to update the form, and you won’t have users submitting no-longer-accurate versions of the form that saved on their hard drive years ago.
Support for the user can, and should be built into online forms. This includes features such as a well-documented and easy to navigate Help Page, hints that let the user know what data is expected and how the field will be validated, and judicious use of electronic features (use them because they’re helpful, not just because you can).
However, user-friendliness is also enhanced by the layout of the form. If all the online forms used in your business have a similar look and feel, users will know what to expect and will not feel intimidated by the form. If the navigation is intuitive and the data flows in a logical order, then users will be able to easily anticipate what information is needed. A form that looks simple, to the point and not overly busy, will help keep users from feeling overwhelmed. Follow best-practice form building conventions such as:
- Only ask for information you need
- Break the form up into logical sections
- Start each section with the most general questions, then proceed to specifics
- Put clear, concise labels for each field
- Use the appropriate field type and size to make it clear what data you’re expecting
- Use the hints to clarify what you’re asking or to let applicants know what format you want the information
Online Forms + JIRA Makes a Service Management System
If you want a service management system you need more than just a collection of well-designed, online forms. You need them to be backed up by a workflow engine. That’s why ProForma for JIRA is a perfect solution. ProForma empowers any business team to create and deploy their own forms directly within JIRA. You get the accuracy, convenience and user-friendliness of online forms, with JIRA’s legendary the agility, traceability and workflow.
Converting to online forms will save time for both your business teams and your users, and we’ve made the process of converting easy. The ProForma app comes with a library of purpose-built forms and templates designed for teams across your organization. We consulted with experts in areas like HR, Finance, Marketing and Risk Management to ensure that our library reflects best business practices. If you are beginning with a ProForma template, you can rest assured that data flow, efficiency, accuracy and user-friendliness were given upmost consideration. However, every ProForma form is completely customizable.