Getting the most from Google Forms

Happy New Year from all at Damson Cloud!

We’re kicking off 2023 with a new video from our Google Workspace trainer Noelle Kerr on how to best utilise Google Forms. There are many ways to use Google forms, they’re not just used for getting responses after events, purchases and training but they can also be used for ordering and ticketing, facilitating specific requests, project inputs and simple product ordering systems.

Google Forms are essential for learning professionals as they allow for skills or knowledge assessment after training and managers are able to check their workers’ knowledge retention and current skills.

The key takeaways from this video will include:

  • How to create and design a form by customising a theme
  • Determine what requirements the form will fill
  • How to create the right choices or feedback matrix for your users
  • Making questions obligatory or optional
  • Applying logic paths to answers
  • How to share your Google Form through email or embedding etc.
  • Tracking responses

To view the full video on our YouTube Channel see it here:

We recommend watching the video for the full experience as the below are key points from the video.

Creating the form

The first thing to do is to create the form from inside Google Drive. Once opened it needs to be given a title and a description so that the end user is aware of the function of the form. It can then be customised into a theme by setting the fonts and sizes for different elements of the form. You can also add a branded header to look professional. Google does provide some headers to choose from or you can upload these yourself. The best size header to fit a form would be 1600×400, however this can be cropped afterwards. Once that’s in place, Forms will pull a complimentary palette from the image to choose from or you can add your own brand colours.

What function does the form fill?

Having completed setting up the theme there are some top settings you need to consider:

  • Do you need to know the respondent for follow up?
  • Will your respondent have a requirement to review their response?
  • How will your respondent interact with the form, is this a one time response or will it be used repeatedly, should they be able to edit responses?
  • Will your form need to be accessible to external users? 
  • Do you want to add a custom message on completion? 

To engage the settings we have decided on simply access the settings tab. Firstly, we will look at responses. We need to know who reported this issue so we are going to turn on the facility to collect an email address. We don’t want to clutter respondents’ emails up, but we do want them to have a record of reporting an issue so we recommend setting the responder’s copy option to “When requested” and we allow response editing so the reporter can add or change details in their record. For this form we only want internal team members to access it so will leave the sign in restriction in place and we intend that users can report as many issues as they need so we won’t toggle on the response limiter.

In the presentation section we  want to add a custom message to thank respondents for using the form and provide a basic SLA, click the “edit” button to reveal the free text box to add this personal touch

Adding questions to your form

Forms offer a range of question types, in four categories:

Text

Short answer: For answers requiring few words 

Paragraph: For more qualitative data gathering.

Selection

Multiple choice: Allow respondents to choose from a preordained list, with single answer selection

Tick Boxes: Allow respondents to choose from a preordained list, with multiple selections

Dropdown: This functions like a multiple choice but is a great space saver for longer forms

Matrices/scales 

Linear scale: To obtain a rating from respondents 

Multiple choice grid: Benchmark or rate a number of elements allowing a single response per row or allow for more than one response in a row with a Checkbox grid.

Formatted or Upload

Date: allow for a corrected formatted date answer

Time: allow for a corrected formatted time answer

File Upload: Allow respondents to upload files. Be aware with file uploads you will need to set limitations on file types, numbers of files and file sizes.

Options or Functions within the form

Making a question obligatory.

Using the required function on a question will stop the respondent from proceeding or submitting until they have answered the question. This is useful where a selection or some data is essential to you. For example, the lunch option required or the respondents name. Consider its use though, as not all respondents will need to answer all questions.

Form sections

These are essential on longer forms to make the form more digestible or on a form that has multiple focus areas.

Apply a logic path to answers

If your form has multiple sections with different focus areas, rather than having the respondent have to navigate through lots of irrelevant sections consider using the “go to section based on answer function” to drive the respondent along a logic path to only the questions relevant to that respondents need – your respondents will hopefully thank you for this!

Make the question easier to understand

Trainers often include images, videos or descriptions to their forms to help the respondent understand what is being asked of them, this can be useful in other scenarios outside of an  L&D requirement.

Preparing your response destination

Once complete we will consider where the responses are going, there are a few elements to clarify here:

  • Are the responses going to a spreadsheet? If so, do you need a new sheet or are you pointing the form to an existing spreadsheet? 
  • Make sure to clearly mark your response document so as to make it recognisable. 
  • Use tools like notification settings to alert you to new responses. 
  • Prepare any supporting functionality in your destination document.

If you want to review your responses in a Google Sheets format here’s how you can get the most from it 

  • From the response tab, click the sheets logo to set up a response destination external to your forms responses tab. 
  • Create and name a new sheet or select an existing spreadsheet. Google will prepare then open the destination document and your questions will appear as headers in the document. 
  • From the tools menu, select notification settings
  • Click edit notifications and from the pop out you can select to be notified for any change to the response document or when a user submits a form
  • Set the frequency of notifications to receive an email straight away or a daily digest, consider your SLAs when setting notification frequency.

View the video to see how Noelle does this.

Review your form

The next important step is to test your form by completing it yourself, ideally in an incognito window.

  • Does the question style suit the question and allow the respondent to fully answer? 
  • Do required questions make sense for all respondents? 
  • Does the form flow in the way you expected, are any sections missed, are you driven into irrelevant sections? 
  • Check the design aspects display correctly, does the video/image/header work and look right?

How to share your form

There are many ways you can then send the form via the send button.

Send via email

Allowing you to send directly from the form.  Add recipients, subject line, message and the option to embed the form in your email. (if your form has sections you cannot embed in an email as the sections can’t function correctly.)

A few watch points here in the video

Remember if you send directly from the form, the “send” will not appear in your sent items inbox, or in the activity view from the document 

Link sharing 

Send a long or shortened link from the link tab and share in an email, in a space or as a link from your intranet.

Embed

Copy the embed HTML from the embed tab and use on your external or internal websites 

QR generator

Now this is a google marketplace add-on so it needs to be installed and might need permissions from your administrator. (The one we used has 25 free credits before you hit a paywall.) Using it we can generate a QR code to add to internal signage, so that staff can scan with their camera app and instantly access the reporting tool on the go.  Ideally this will drive your tool usage and hopefully reduce multiple emails to you about the toilet roll missing from the ladies loos!

As your team members start to interact with your form your Google sheet will fill up. 

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed this Tech Tip Thursday update looking at making the most out of Google Forms. They’re a fantastic way of capturing user feedback and information on the go within any business.

As always, we want to hear from you. Are Google Forms something you or your business would be interested in learning more about? Let us know in the comments on our YouTube channel or contact us for more information hereAs a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner Program, Damson Cloud specialises in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion the very best practices in remote working and change management, helping companies and their teams collaborate productively from anywhere in the world. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.

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