What is a form guide?
A form guide is a wizard based in Adobe Flash that you can create as an alternative method for your users to enter data onto your form. A user is literally guided through the data entry process, which helps to reduce entry errors by limiting the amount of information presented to the user at any given moment. So instead of seeing a mass of fields and text – because the powers that be demand that you cram as much as possible onto that one sheet of 8.5” x 11” – the user sees chunks of information with animated transitions to move them from one chunk to another. It makes filling out forms feel less like, well, filling out forms.
Click here to see what a form guide looks like.
Note: To view form guides you must have Adobe Flash Player 9 or later installed.
Why would I want to use a form guide?
There are lots of reasons why you might want to use form guides, but here’s an example modeled on a real world case. The following image is of an immunization form.
To see a larger image, click
The requirements of the form stipulated that users can print and fold it into a booklet in which medical staff could then manually write records of immunizations for a particular patient. Somewhere along the way someone decided it might be nice to also make the same form available in electronic format, but the user should print and fold the form after entering the data. Given this situation, you could create two separate forms, or you could go 21st century and make a form guide. The image below shows the form guide created for the immunization form. As you can see it’s a lot nicer than having to rotate your head ninety degrees every so often.
How do you create form guides?
You create form guides using Guide Builder, a tool available in LiveCycle Designer ES. As it turns out this is a handy arrangement because you create form guides from form designs, which are also created in LiveCycle Designer ES. Once you create a form guide for a particular form design, the form guide definition is actually saved inside the form design itself.
If you want to view a form guide as if you were the user doing the data entry, you can preview it right in Guide Builder. However, when you want to actually deploy a form guide to users, you will need to either:
- Create a process design in Workbench ES that renders a form guide to Workspace ES. Your users then access the form guide through Workspace ES.
- Render the form guide from a Java or web services applications using the LiveCycle Forms ES service to render the form guide. Your users access the form guide using the Java or web services application.
You can find a bunch of information about form guides in our product documentation. Check out the links below:
- Start here
- All about Guide Builder
- Creating processes in Workbench ES
- How to render a form guide from a Java or web services application
- Creating custom bits and pieces in Flex Builder
Have fun creating your own form guides. Drop us a note to tell us about your experiences.