A question asked frequently by clients is “How do I get staff to use my QuickBase application?”, more often than not, users suggest that they do not find the initial release of a QuickBase application user friendly, and in most cases this is due to the Administrator accepting the default settings of QuickBase when building their QuickBase application.
By spending a small amount of time modifying a QuickBase application, the takeup of QuickBase users can greatly increase. Some of the changes implemented will also reduce the possibility of data entry errors, increasing the quality of information and reports.
Form Flow and Rules
Many first time developers accept the default settings of forms, but by making small adjustments to the manner in which the form flows, the rules relating to fields and the properties of forms, the adoption of QuickBase will become a lot smoother.
Ensuring fields of a similar category are placed together in a section, or placing them side by side can result in all data fitting on one page, as well as the information contained flows well, and in-turn ensures the form is more visually appealing to the user.
When new fields are created in tables, by default QuickBase will add these to the bottom of the existing form. Relocating new fields or modifying the form properties to prevent new fields from being added to a form by default will assist with form flow.
Introducing Rules to forms will support users in their data entry. Having the ability for fields to become visible or hidden depending on the value of another field, read only or even change the value of a field if an action is taken, will greatly support the users in their role.
Drop Down Lists/Record Pickers
Lists in QuickBase can either be created by a relationship between two tables or as a text field. Providing users with a drop down list instead of requesting them to complete full data entry of a field will not only reduce data entry, but also increase the quality of information going into the tables.
By default when a Record Picker is created by a relationship, QuickBase will make the Record ID the initial value in any Record Picker, followed by any other fields you have listed as part of the relationship. For the end user when keying in data, searching through Record IDs can be frustrating. An alternative would be to modify the Record Picker in the Advanced Settings of the table.
Alternatively, whilst in the form design view of a form, the Administrator can choose to use a specific report instead of the standard Record Picker. This could be used in the circumstances where records have been flagged as ‘Inactive’, using a report as an alternative would result in only active records being visible in the list of options.
Finally, as part of field properties for a related field, a Record Picker can list Conditional Values. This results in only values in the list appearing, depending on what has already been selected in another field.
Previously known as the Dashboard, it is best to keep the Home Page simple. Overloading users with too much information on their initial entry to an application, can create a sense of overwhelm. Users should already know how to navigate to reports which they need on a daily basis. Inserting these on the Home Page, only causes clutter.
Use the Home Page to insert Critical Reports or Tables, Shortcuts and Search Bars. Anything else is only a distraction to actual need of the database.
Having roles set up correctly at the start will allow users to make the transition to QuickBase smoothly. Roles don’t only need to be used to prevent a user from seeing highly sensitive data. But to also reduce the amount of information one will see, avoiding having large volumes of information to look through when undertaking a search. This helps a user reduce their time trawling through data.
Hiding tables in the Table Bar of QuickBase will also keep the information a user is able to see as relevant, as well as keeping everything on a single screen. This same logic can also be applied to Reports. Reducing the number of reports available to one user can prevent a possibility of inundation of data.
Auto-fill and Reportable Attributes
By selecting the Auto-fill option in the Advanced settings of a field, the Administrator is able to direct if a value can be copied across if a user decides to Copy a record, when creating a new one. Ensuring this is managed correctly at the time of the field creation, will result in a huge reduction in workload for end users, as well as increase productivity and data quality.
The attribute Reportable – Add this field to all new reports flags that a field will be added to any new reports which are created from that point on. By making the attribute for this false, the amount of modifications required by a user is reduced when generating new reports. Whilst stating that The field may be used in reports as false when creating new buttons or relationship links, will help users to create more streamlined reports which are of no use in reports.
Overall, by making some minor changes and switching off some of the default functions in QuickBase, administrators can quickly create a database which staff can transition to smoothly.