How to Replace Paper Forms

FileMaker Go is a great way to replace paper forms. It works on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. And it’s free.

You’ll need FileMaker Pro Advanced to develop the FM Go solutions. Plus FileMaker Server to deploy the solutions. And some advanced FileMaker Pro development techniques.

This post covers some of the technical aspects of how to develop and deploy FM Go solutions, and also some aspects of user behavior: What compels users to switch, and how can you ease them into technology without overwhelming them?

LD iOS Solutions
Examples of FileMaker Go solutions are showcased and available for download in our Store.

Compel Your Users to Switch
There’s no sense investing in an FM Go solution unless you can get users to switch from paper to iOS. And an easy way to do that is to start with what they already know. Don’t get carried away with new features too soon in the process.

Part of the process of going paperless is the initial transition. After that, you can enhance and transform the user’s experience with added functionality, but for now focus on the familiar.

The best way to compel users to switch from paper to your cool new FileMaker Go solution is to start with something familiar. Make your solution look like the user’s paper form. Not a skeuomorph. Just similar enough to be familiar.

SAMR Model by Ruben Puentedura

Ruben R. Puentedura, PhD built a model — called SAMR — to help educators integrate technology into teaching and learning. SAMR stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition, suggesting the order in which to integrate technology into a user’s workflow.

Deploy the Solution
Designing and developing the FM Go solution is relatively easy. Deploying it to your users’ devices is a little tricky. Here are some suggestions to keep you on track:
1. Cater to single users (for now).
2. Allow users to work offline.
3. Allow users easy access to the solution.
4. Give users one-click updates.
5. Do it without syncing.

Stick with single users to start. They can share their forms by emailing them. Multi-user scenarios offer far more possibilities and opportunities to further integrate technology and transform the user experience. And we’ll explore some of these scenarios later on. But for now we’re focused on the familiar, remember, or “Substitution” as Dr. Puentedura posits.

The solutions showcased in our Store are good examples of single-user forms deployed on FM Go. Each solution is easily accessible, and easy to update. Each solution is self-contained, allowing users to work offline; no WiFi of cell signal required.

Developer Links
Here are some helpful links for all you do-it-yourselfers:
1. Importing to FileMaker Go
2. Deleting a FileMaker Go File
3. Colibri Solutions’ One-Click technique. Be prepared for several hours of scripting and debugging. Use custom dialogs to report progress on your iOS device as you step through the scripts. When you’re done debugging, disable the dialogs.

Replace paper forms and eliminate the time associated with processing paper. We’ll design, develop, and deploy a FileMaker Go solution to replace your paper forms. Contact us today.