Remote Data Collection: 10 of the Best Apps for Gathering Data in the Field
Paper forms have been with us for generations, helping gather data, register customers and patients, file taxes and so much more. And while you wouldn't think of them as forms, per se, document templates in Word are basically a digital form to speed up your work.
Online forms are great for gathering data, but they're not so great for replacing your paper forms or document templates. For that, you need a form designed for mobile data collection—and Nexticy, an iPad app for creating and filling out rich forms, is a great option for both tasks.
It starts with a blank canvas—much like the slide editor in PowerPoint—where you can lay out your form designs on your iPad. Drag in text boxes, image fields, signature sections, tables, and more, then format the with the typeface and colors you want. Or, you can get started quickly with a template form from Nexticy's FormBox site. Find one that's close to what you need, then edit it in the Nexticy app. You can even upload a form template, and Nexticy's team will turn it into a digital form for you.
Either way, Nexticy's editor treats your form more like a piece of paper than most form editors. Form fields and graphics can go anywhere on the page you want, making it easy to add extra explanations, build multi-column layouts, or create beautiful document templates to replace your old Word templates.
With that done, it's time to gather data. You can view the form on your iPad, fill it out, and save the responses to a table or export a PDF of the completed document filled with answers—a great way to collect data and build documents on your own. Or, you can share the form online and with other iPad users in the Nexticy Reader app. Form data will be synced together in Nexticy Cloud, where you can connect your form data to productivity tools including Salesforce, Evernote, and more with Zapier.
Or, you could just analyze the data on your own back in the Nexticy app. With many of the sorting and filtering features you'd expect in a spreadsheet or simple database app, Nexticy lets you find the results you want, export them in a document, or turn them into visualizations.
As a standalone iPad app, Nexticy feels a bit different from most online form builders. There's no way to collaborate on editing a form, and no online editor to make changes to a form from your computer. But if you want an easy way to layout a rich form interface and analyze results right from your iPad, Nexticy is a great offering. It's perfect for collecting data on your own—especially if you need to quickly turn that data into formatted documents, and want to quit copying and pasting info into Word templates.
Updated September 10, 2015 with new screenshots