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Avoiding the Pitfalls Of Mobile Data Collection

Once a novel idea to have on your devices, mobile forms are now relatively common in the app market. Like most software, however, they aren’t all made equal.

A lot of apps tend to have a wide feature-set but don’t manage to properly execute the most basic features. Certain other features, such as fault tolerance have also become so important that they are impossible to ignore.

Here are five features that every mobile data collection software should have to avoid waste, corruption, or total loss of information.

Offline accessibility

We may be well into the internet era, but believe it or not, even some of the most developed countries in the world have internet availability issues. Considering the edges of the country that so many fields and service workers visit, it’s a wonder they aren’t plagued by connectivity issues more.

An essential part of data collection, especially on mobile is fault tolerance. If data is collected and can’t be delivered to the server immediately, it should remain on your device. As soon as you connect to the internet again, it’s submitted. Data should never go to waste because of network issues.

Field duplication 

A mobile form app’s main purpose is to collect data. Every feature it includes should thus make the process of data collection as simple as possible. One inefficiency users often come across is how to deal with repeated duplication.

Consider, for example, you are conducting a census in your home country. You will need to collect data about the number of floors on a building, and each of these floors will have additional data to be input about them.

Rather than list 1-4, then manually create the individual sections yourself, why not have it automated? All you need is to enter the data once, and they are duplicate against your criteria.

Dealing with idle data

Data on its own is inherently useless. What really gives it value is how it’s used. By simply using an app the way they normally do, it’s entirely possible for the mobile app to collect tons of data. The way the user behaves – when they start rage clicking, when they are completely idle and how long certain processes take can mean a lot.

The best mobile forms allow you to collect such data and put it to use. For example, when sent over to a client, you could give them an overview of what the data is. This would allow them to measure productivity and optimize their workflow in other ways.

Integrating intelligent conditional logic

A stressful part of building forms is trying to make them appear intelligent. The fields at the bottom should be able to react to any change in the information at the top, or simply have related forms react to each other.

  • Conditional logic is normally used in many instances. This includes:
  • Requiring certain fields when others are selected.
  • Hiding some fields when the needed input hasn’t been entered.

Delaying the entry of information until certain data has been input. For instance, until the terms of service as accepted.

Adding automated workflows

Automation is another important aspect of the collection of data via mobile that you shouldn’t overlook. Mobile phones have much less power than computers, so they don’t allow the opportunity for on-site data crunching. However, once the data reaches the backend, a series of triggers should follow.

For instance, if the data collection app responds to location data, the device could send a text message back to the supervisor. Or, an email should be sent to the customer with a receipt when the delivery is complete.

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