What Makes a Good Form Field?
SAM's Form Customizer module allows you to create brand new fields in your database. With great power, however, comes great responsibility: be sure to create the field properly the first time around to avoid messy database errors. Watch our short video to learn more!
Before doing so, be sure you understand the kind of data are you trying to collect and why. Also decide how will it be used within your agency’s processes.
Understanding your agency’s need for a field completely will ensure it is created correctly the first time.
SAM offers 15 main field types to choose from, and each type can be further customized. Sometimes more than one field type might fit your purpose. Remember that this field should make things easier for your agency and clients - so be thoughtful when picking the field type and choose one that maximizes the accuracy of the data collected while minimizing the work required to fill it out.
For example, when collecting eye color data, it is better to give options (such as with a list or checkbox field) than leave it as a text field. This is because we already know the possible responses for eye color.
Also, typing requires more effort, more time, and is more prone to errors.
Minimize typing and prevent users from making errors by choosing checkboxes, radio buttons or drop-down list fields.
Doing so will ensures consistency and allow your agency to use the data in more meaningful ways.
To summarize, whenever you go to create a new field in SAM, be specific about why you are creating it, ensure that the field does not already exist, and think critically about the kind of data you’ll collect with the field to choose the right field type.