Have you ever had to mark a bunch of things as “N/A” on a form?

It’s annoying.  And time-consuming.  Annoying because the form you have to fill out was designed for every conceivable scenario there is, making it very comprehensive, but also making it overkill for some jobs.  And you can’t just skip the fields, because you have to enter something there to circumvent the validation controls on the form.

Skip the whole section with one tap

With XForms, you can skip entire sections of a form by just marking the section header as N/A.  Here’s how to do that:

  • Tap on the N/A checkbox displayed on a section header.  This collapses the section header and also removes validation controls for every field within that section.  So now you can submit your form without having to fill out any required fields that don’t really apply for your project.
  • Tap on the N/A checkbox of a collapsed section header to expand it back and re-activate all validation controls.

That’s it.  Super simple.  This is an optional attribute for a section header, and you can also default it to open (ie, collapsed =false) or closed (ie, collapsed =true).  Here’s a code snippet of an example form element titled “Primary Element” which will display the “N/A” checkbox in the section header and will default to open.

Spend less time recording data, and more time doing field tasks

While most software developers and even some in-house administrators see this as a tiny incremental improvement, field crews responsible for entering data while outside in the hot sun, rain, or cold weather welcome any feature that speeds up data collection.

Until you’ve had to squint at a tiny screen in the blazing sun, you won’t really know what it’s like to work in a less-than-ideal environment not designed for delicate computers.  So anything that can be done to speed up data collection—even tiny little incremental improvements like a collapsible section header—will help with user adoption by your field crews tasked with this work.

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