Long before online forms had become common, people used to send/collect the data via paper sheets and later emailing spreadsheets. The old-fashioned method of data collection had its own share of usability but now with most businesses moving online, collecting data using paper sheets have become quite obsolete. We had recently run a survey on data collection and asked people what was their most preferred way of running surveys and online forms came out winners. Here’s a snapshot to our survey and you can see the results for yourself:
Why did paper sheets and spreadsheets have a downfall?
- Data validation - With multiple typographical errors in the data collected from multiple sources, a lot of time and energy was wasted validating and correcting the data and arranging them in order.
- Different formats - Data came in various formats (Paper Sheets, XLS, CSV, RSS, Web links, Documents, Emails, etc.) which made it difficult to put them together which led to piled up copies of spreadsheets.
- Data to Information - Data becomes information once it is broken down and analyzed and made understandable. A huge learning curve was required to use different tools like spreadsheets to convert the data into information.
- The Green Factor – With most of the business world going green, abandoning the paper sheets was a very obvious choice.
Why online forms became phenomenal?
Online forms gave a very new perspective to businesses leading to a whole new system for data collection. Some of the common returns that online forms bring on our tables are:
- Save time and money - As you move from paper to web forms, it saves a lot of time and makes it quick and easy.
- Eliminate e-mailing - Easily send notifications to people that have not yet updated their data or just get confirmations that the forms have been received.
- Removes typos, improve accuracy with data validation - Validated, guided responses prevent errors and provide accurate data that doesn't need cleansing.
- Timeliness of Results - The data is immediately available, and results can be tracked and analyzed even while the job of data collection is ongoing.
- Increase response rates - Since electronic and web-based surveys and online forms are easier and faster to fill out than paper, response rates naturally improve.
- Accessibility - Distribution via web access and email is easy. Web surveys and forms can be accessed from any computer or mobile device with web access.
Where does CollateBox fit into this discussion of online forms?
CollateBox is the simplest tool you can find that brings two worlds together – spreadsheets and online forms. The spreadsheet like flexibility powered by ready online forms makes data collection, sharing and collaboration quite magical. Your data comes and sits right on to your spreadsheets (which you can download anytime) and CollateBox gives you multiple options to work off data. Your data is auto-validated and can be sorted, grouped and filtered using any device you want, accessed from anywhere in the world. And yeah ... you can do a lot more with this magic box and your data :)