Hello PerfectForms Community, Any handyman counts on a variety of tools that are needed for their different tasks. Each tool in their toolbox has a specific purpose and if used incorrectly won’t get the job done. Sometimes a hammer is a right fit other times it is a screwdriver. A good handyman knows when and how to use their tools. Forms designers must also know the tools in their PerfectForms toolbox as well as the right time to use each one. Many objects can complete the same task but just like the hammer and screwdriver some components are a better fit depending on your form design goals. Today I would like to discuss when to use regular data entry fields and when to use a Table in your form design. Learning these use cases will provide you with the knowledge required to achieve the desired output from your form design the first time around. A Table is one of the most powerful objects in PerfectForms. Key features include:
• High data capacity • Variable data amounts • Configurable data types
A Table’s features make it perfect for returning bulk data from other forms, databases, or 3rd party data sources. Calculating sums based on column and rows can also be performed with ease, making them ideal for forms with a purchasing function. When using a Table it is best practice to ask a few reflective questions such as:
• Do I need to print? o The print functionality will only show what is seen on the form. If the amount of data exceeds the visible space of a table an appendix will need to be included in the print command to view all the data. • Can I define the maximum amount of fields I will need? o If the answer is yes, and the fields can be reasonably applied to a form design it may be best to use fields. • Will this form be used on a mobile device? o Tables do not provide the best user experience for mobile devices. • Does a print of an appendix serve my business case? o An appendix will be on a separate page that will only include the Tables data. (Example Below)
Example: Top image is a print of a form with a table in it. The bottom image is a print of an appendix of the table.
Tables although powerful should be used only after considering the questions above. By using these questions the process of deciding to use a table or fixed objects should be simplified.
The major difference in using fixed objects instead of a table is that they do not provide variable data amounts. By using fixed objects in your build you can simplify calculations, behaviors based on a field, connecting to a form, and printing. Any behavior or function that can be performed by an object in a table can also be performed with a corresponding fixed object. If you find yourself leaning towards a table only for the aesthetics remember you can always arrange fields to appear as a table and fulfill that requirement.
Now that we have discussed the strengths of Tables and fixed fields you should be able to choose what is best for your use case. If you are thinking of using a Table try out the example questions for your next build. By using the questions picking your next tool should be an easier choice. If you have any additional questions on PerfectForms’ online form builder, please feel free to post below and I will be happy to respond. Thanks for reading and happy form building.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 18th, 2016 at 3:28 pm and is filed under Best Practices, Form Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.