We need reliable data for reliable quality reports. Nothing is as miserable as missing, incomplete, or incorrect data. Here are ten tips that you can take into account when drafting or optimizing QA / QC forms.
1. Minimize the number of fields
The rule of thumb is, the fewer fields the lower the threshold to fill in the form. Just ask for information that is really needed. And only ask for it once.
2. Start with the easiest questions
This way, the user has to think as little as possible and the chance of dropping off is smaller than when they need to fill in difficult input fields first. After inputting some first fields, the user will feel stimulated to complete the form.
3. Consider the input frequency
Not all quality records or inspections are conducted with the same frequency. Try to ensure that all fields in your form have the same input frequency. Split into multiple forms when the frequency of fields differ.
4. Ensure proper validation
If any input is entered incorrectly, or the value exceeds testing standards, this should be immediately clear, and one should get a tip on the desired input range or format.
5. Ensure the correct input types
There are various input types available that ensure fewer clicks and better reports. For example, the date & time fields instead of text fields.
6. Mandatory fields
Only make fields mandatory if they can always be filled. We prefer an empty field over a random value!
7. Smart instructions
For difficult input fields, add some specific instructions on how to fill the value, by means of tool tips.
8. Unit of measure
Do not forget to define the unit of measurement in your field description. What are we counting? The number of boxes or camels? This is crucial for reliable reports and statistics.
9. Segment or split forms
Divide larger forms into sections or split them into multiple forms. This increases readability and ensures more peace of mind for users.
10. Respect the mobile user
Forms will probably be entered on a mobile device every now and then. Design your forms for this. They should be a bit more concise than forms that are solely entered via large screen devices.
1. Use selection lists where possible
Standardize the entry. This saves time on input and makes your reports and analyzes much easier. Free text can not be analyzed. Items from selection lists can!
2. A checkmark is a strange field!
It seems very logical: Yes and No. But what does an unchecked check mark mean? No? Must be? Not relevant? In principle, you can only report yes? Anything else is guesswork. Selection lists with explicit “Yes” and “No” options are often clearer, and therefore more reliable for your reports.
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