Online Forms after Natural Disasters: Key Considerations

Online forms

Most of us have experienced, or know someone who has experienced a natural disaster.

Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico late in September, and even after Thanksgiving, only about half of the commonwealth’s electricity grid was producing power. The world population is rising, and it only stands to reason that natural disasters will be affecting a higher percentage of the population as time goes forward.

While there is no question that the internet has revolutionized how disaster relief is reported and responded to, it’s not a perfect system. Still, anyone who remembers having to complete paper forms to apply for disaster aid in earlier generations knows what a huge headache bureaucracy can be when it has to proceed with paper, traditional mail, and telephone communications.

Online forms alone can’t make disaster relief perfect, but the implementation of online forms can make a measurable positive difference if you keep several key concepts in mind.

Mobile-Friendliness Is a Must

Mobile-friendly forms can make all the difference in helping people efficiently after a disaster. Online forms can make it possible for affected employees to request time off. Mobile-friendly forms can be essential for aid organizations working to coordinate supply delivery.

The fact is, the mobile grid might be repaired before the electricity is restored to provide Wi-Fi access. And if the electric grid should be fixed first, people can still use their phones to complete forms using Wi-Fi.

Trying to access and use online forms designed for a desktop environment while using a mobile phone or tablet can be a nightmare. There’s simply no reason not to put effort behind making all online forms mobile-friendly.

Minimize Typing and Maximize Convenience

Likewise, a form may be made to fit the dimensions of a phone or tablet screen, but if it requires significant typing, it can still be a hassle to use. Not everyone has the manual dexterity to type efficiently on a tablet, nor do they all have attachable keyboards for convenience. Make sure that your form is able to auto-populate key fields. For example, if someone is required to enter their name, make sure entering it once is enough to populate all “name” fields in a given workflow. Additionally, creating drop-down menus and multiple-choice menus that allow more form fields to be completed with a couple of taps can greatly speed things along for users while improving accuracy.

Be Prepared to Modify Forms if Necessary

Online forms

Different disasters present different needs. Online forms should reflect the needs of the current applicants.

One of the key characteristics of disasters is their unpredictability. The online form you developed a few years ago after a tornado may be all wrong for helping people after this winter’s blizzard. With outstanding form software, you can adapt your online forms so they correspond appropriately to current conditions, without major upheaval or delays.

The right online forms software will allow authorized personnel to modify existing forms easily and create new ones effortlessly, so you’re never locked into designs that worked fine in previous situations, but are unsuited to current conditions. Flexibility is a key consideration when choosing online form software.

PerfectForms is form software that allows non-programmers to create and modify custom online forms through a convenient drag-and-drop interface. Forms can be modified easily by authorized personnel, and they can be deployed quickly. PerfectForms allows data to be collected from forms and be diverted automatically to spreadsheets, databases, or other data collection tools, and forms can be made to alert key personnel when certain conditions are triggered.

Suppose your organization that offers food relief wants to prioritize requests from families with more than three children. PerfectForms can allow your forms to automatically escalate a form when the user indicates they have more than three children. If additional approvals are necessary, appropriate personnel can be automatically notified for that, too.

In short, PerfectForms offers businesses and other organizations exactly the tools they need to respond to disasters quickly and competently, with ultimate mobile-friendliness so form users won’t be inconvenienced. We encourage you to read through some of our many case studies, including studies of insurers implementing mobile claim forms, and see for yourself how the right form software can accelerate relief when disasters happen.

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