In a previous article, Introducing the Claris Platform, we discussed the three tool sets – Claris Pro, Claris Connect and Claris Studio. We followed up with an article specifically about Claris Studio – About Claris Studio. Now we begin looking at how Claris Studio works and what it can do for your organisation.
The first iteration of Claris Studio in May 2022 was focussed on the collection of data using web forms from anonymous users. The use case here is to be able to quickly provide a web form to be able to collect information for a purpose such as registration, surveys, requests, etc. If you have not done so already, you may like to review our Introduction to Web Forms.
Forms are still a big part of what makes Claris Studio valuable. In this article, we will explore what can be done with Claris Studio forms. But remember that things are changing rapidly.
Start with why. Why would you need a web form? The use cases will vary between different types of organisation. First, let’s consider the users of forms.
Users can be internal or external to your organisation. Internal users are usually your staff or contractors. There are lots of forms that they may need to complete; some once off, and others regularly. External users are people like customers, suppliers and prospects.
Here are five example organisations with use cases for forms for internal and external users:
Internal: leave request, advice of certification, field service report
External: work request, job follow-up, testimonial submission
Internal: maintenance request, sports carnival signup, emergency contacts
External: field trip permission, volunteer submission, survey submission
Internal: identity and qualification upload, instructor availability, class attendance
External: class enrolment, medical clearance, session feedback
Office Furniture Supplier
Internal: project progress, staff assignments, inventory usage
External: job application, quote request, product information, installation sign-off
Internal: site induction signup, casual employee information, pay and tax forms
External: performer expression of interest, ticket purchases, newsletter signup
A big advantage of using a web form to collect data is the availability through the devices we all carry these days. If you are not already collecting data with web forms, maybe these use cases will trigger some interest for your organisation. Can you use any of these examples in your organisation? Can you come up with other use cases for yourself now?
Claris Studio Forms
So how do we create and publish a web form in Claris Studio?
The first thing is to STOP and think about what you need in the form. Think about:
- data to be collected – be sure to provide separate fields for first and last name, and for parts of an address; only collect data that is needed for the purpose.
- arrangement of data – are you going to need one page or have the user step through multiple smaller pages? Consider grouping of similar data sets.
- conditional data – is there some data required based on other data? For example, if the user answers “Yes” to “Previous Medical Conditions”, provide a list for them to choose from.
- data validation – what data is required and what is optional? are there fields where you expect certain choices? is the data provided valid and reasonable?
If you start with a good plan in your head and maybe a sketch on paper, you will end up with a much better result.
Create New View
With our plan in hand, we get into Claris Studio as a manager and can easily create a new View that is a Form. This is done using Add Views > New Views for an existing Hub.
You can choose Data for the Form – either Blank to create a new table, or choose an existing View (using an existing table). If you choose Blank, Claris Studio will create both a Form and a Spreadsheet View based on the new table; Forms created from existing data will not create an additional Spreadsheet View.
This creates a form workflow consisting of two pages – Start Page and Confirmation. Claris Studio creates a new table with no fields. Perhaps in future there will be a choice of form templates.
Let’s look around the screen:
- All Hubs – click to return to Hubs listing
- Hub name – name of Hub containing this View
- View name – other View in the Hub; click to switch to View, or remove View from Hub
- View name – name off the current View (highlighted); edit View name or switch to another View with same data
- Add View to Hub – New Views or Existing Views
- Zoom control – choose percentage or Fit to Canvas
- Preview – preview and test the form pages (data submitted while previewing is not saved)
- Sharing – enable/disable public sharing, create link, copy link, delete link
- Page name – click to rename page
- Delete Workflow – all pages or current page depending on the number of pages in the workflow and which page
- Page – click to open page for editing
- Add a new page here – insert new page in workflow
- Jump to Page – add conditions to jump from current page to a specified page
If we start with a simple two page flow, we can edit the first page (currently called Start Page). Point and click (#11 above) to open the page.
The Start Page contains only a Submit button. The screenshot below shows a page with fields and other objects added.
- Add Object – show the Add Object panel used to drag and drop field and static objects onto the page. Panel can be pinned to remain open.
- Breadcrumb – click to rename page or return to Form (workflow view) or Views
- Page navigation – showing current page, total pages and chevrons for next and previous
- Page Settings – theme colour and option to make all field objects required
- Delete Workflow – all pages i.e. delete View
- Header – with large text and small text; when clicked on there are buttons for Header Settings and Delete Header
- Text block – static object
- Field object – in this case, short text
- Submit button – with icon below to set Jump to Page conditions (as for page).
As the number of pages increases, the buttons on each page are automatically updated. The last page is the Confirmation page (no button).
- two pages: page 1 = Submit
- three pages: page 1 = Next, page 2 = Previous & Submit
- four pages: page 1 = Next, page 2 = Previous & Next, page 3 = Previous & Submit
Simply click to enable the Sharing Link. Then you can Copy Link and distribute as needed. The link created is quite long:
So you may need to be a little creative about how you distribute the link. For ease of use you could:
- use a URL shortening service like bitly or tinyurl
- create a QR code using a service like bitly or generator-qr
If you disable the link, it is still retained and will be the same link if you enable it again. This may be useful for temporarily disabling the form. If someone uses a disabled link, they will be directed to a Claris ID sign-in page. Currently there is no control to direct them to an error page.
If you Delete Sharing Link, the sharing will be disabled and the link deleted. If you re-enable sharing, a new link will be created. This could be useful if you wanted to use the same registration form for a new event with a unique link.
When you share a Form, the View will, be automatically added to a new Hub called Publicly Shared Views. This is a collection of all shared Views.