Enhancing data entry efficiency

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About the webinar

In this session, we will explore how you can ensure efficient data entry using a variety of functionalities available in form design in ActivityInfo.

In summary, we will explore:

  • Data entry efficiency
  • Relevance rule and formulas
  • Validation rules and formulas
  • The use of Subsections for organizing data entry forms
  • Unique field constraints versus Key fields
  • Default values and the Read Only property
  • NOW function and timestamps
  • Locking data entry

View the presentation slides of the Webinar.

Is this Webinar for me?

  • Are you designing databases in ActivityInfo or is this a role you would like to take on?
  • Do you wish to improve the data collection forms so as to improve the data entry experience and your work with the collected data?
  • Would you like to address questions related to the latest functionalities available in the platform?

Then, watch our Webinar!

Questions and Answers

Can the default value be a randomized code or number that is generated in a specified manner? My form starts with asking the service provider to specify if their beneficiary is a new or an existing one, if it is a new beneficiary the form would assign a unique ID for that beneficiary that will be provided to them and used at the next visit since the beneficiary has become an existing one, and based on the selected a different subform is accessed but that code can not be sequential numbers its a mix of characters (alphabetical, numerical, special).

We do not yet support functions for generating random numbers. If you want to generate sequential numbers, you can consider using a Serial Number field type instead. If you got a Reference form for your beneficiary registry, you can add new records to that form from other forms that are linked to it. The beneficiary registry form could then have a serial number for automatic generation of IDs. However the serial number currently would have to be sequential. We do not yet support non-sequential/random numbers but we can take this in for future consideration.

About calculated field: if we want to be able to see and filter records by user who created and modified and by date the record was created and (last) modified; should we add these fields as calculated, or are these built in by default in forms and database?

If you want to be able to filter the records by these dimensions, you would need to create the calculated fields that would store that information.

Does the NOW() function work at local level (for example if the collection was done offline) and does it provide time zone information? Or does it happen at server level?

It does work at the local level based on the deviceĀ“s time. And yes, time zone information would be included like this: YYYY-MM-DD HH:mm:ss +0100

Does ActivityInfo support cross-forms validation? As example if I need to validate the entered value in subform A to be to specific value in subform B.

You can only create formulas that refer to values in related forms (e.g. forms linked via a reference field or between subform and parent form). We unfortunately do not yet support formulas that can refer to specific values in "sibling" subforms. Would be great to hear more about the use case you have in mind.

What formula gets you a user id? And will the DB owner show up as well?

When you add a User field to a form, you can refer to that field as well as any attributes about the user in your formulas. Database owners would also show up in the list of users.

Is there a possibility to add a lock or something similar not only for the date but also for e.g for the project status? If the project is marked as closed, it is locked and you can't edit it?

Yes, you can achieve this using rule-based locks, you can read more here.

If we are collecting quarterly data for example, we are facing the issue of updating data from the previous quarters, let us say we are in the Q4 reporting period and people use to go back and update what they already entered in Q1, Q2, or Q3. Is there a way when we are in a specific quarter to lock the update for the past quarters?

If you are using the same form across quarters, you can use rule-based locks as well to lock records associated with quarters that are closed for reporting. You can read more here.

About the trainer

Victoria Manya has a diverse background and extensive expertise in data-driven impact, project evaluation, and organizational learning. She holds a Master's degree in local development strategies from Erasmus University in the Netherlands and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the African Studies Center at Leiden University. With over ten years of experience, Victoria has collaborated with NGOs, law firms, SaaS companies, tech-enabled startups, higher institutions, and governments across three continents, specializing in research, policy, strategy, knowledge valorization, evaluation, customer education, and learning for development. Her previous roles as a knowledge valorization manager at the INCLUDE platform and as an Organizational Learning Advisor at Sthrive B.V. involved delivering high- quality M&E reports, trainings, ensuring practical knowledge management, and moderating learning platforms, respectively. Today, as a Customer Education Specialist at ActivityInfo, Victoria leverages her experience and understanding of data leverage to assist customers in successfully deploying ActivityInfo.

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