How to improve the user experience with Docusign Guided Forms

Applied for an Australian passport recently? Then you’re all over smart forms. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has lifted its form-filling game, converting previously cumbersome paper-based application forms into a digital experience that is much more streamlined and turns a stressful situation for the applicant into something a lot simpler.

So, what are these ‘smart forms’? How do they differ from other electronic forms? We recently hosted a webinar on Docusign Guided Forms – in which Kunnal Khiatani, Partner Manager from SmartIQ (and all-round smart form aficionado) joined Docusign’s Adam Maloney to explore why Guided Forms have come to the fore and how Docusign enables them.

First, what are Guided Forms?

Docusign Guided Forms are smart, adaptive and mobile friendly forms that are much easier to fill in than their traditional counterparts. Our forms are powered by SmartIQ, with embedded intelligence to intuitively guide the form-filler through the process. These smart forms elevate the old ‘electronic’ PDF form to a whole new level.

Here’s why Guided Forms are proving so popular:

  • Fast and easy setup, with a simple drag-and-drop interface to build the form
  • Context-driven question generation, which means you can skip questions or ask different questions based on the user’s device, location, previous answers and more
  • Pre-filling of fields where you can pull in known data from other systems, to save the form-filler time
  • Integration with back-end systems means you can validate entered data on the fly to help accelerate the signing process, and then automatically update systems of record when forms are complete
  • Mobile responsive, and with the ability to save the form for finishing later, people can more easily tick off tasks on the go

When are Guided Forms useful?

Guided Forms are great for complex application forms and agreements – particularly those that require a lot of information and attachments; or those that have multiple ‘if this then that’ scenarios, where you need to choose a workflow based on your previous response. On paper, these types of forms can be incredibly challenging for some people to fill out. Online and in a Guided Form, they are much easier to complete.

Guided Forms are common in industries where there’s a push for digitisation. For example, in banking and finance – where existing customers commonly apply for a new type of account or loan – a Guided Form can pre-populate all the fields of the form that request customer information you already have on file. The only fields the customer has to complete are those relevant to the new product they are applying for, leading to a much more seamless user experience.

The recent lockdowns are another great example of where Guided Forms could be useful. In Melbourne, essential workers currently have to fill out a form, get it signed by their employer, and then carry the form to prove that they need to travel. If this form was converted into a Guided Form (as shown by Kunnal in the webinar for demonstration purposes) then the employee, employer and government could all gain access to the information they need, in an instant.

How do you make the switch to Guided Forms?

While many organisations out there are taking great strides towards a digital future, they often fall short of truly intelligent digital processes. Putting a PDF on a website is not a true digital experience – many users will still need to print out the PDF to fill in each field, before scanning and emailing it back to the sender. PDF forms don’t pre-fill, and they certainly don’t update your systems of record.

To make the switch to smart forms, you need to take your PDFs a step further. Think about how you can intelligently link the fields in your forms to your existing systems of record to enable the push-pull of data that makes Guided Forms so smart. Also think about the workflows in forms, and how they can be streamlined to only give the form-filler the information they need.

Many organisations start by building out re-usable fragments. These are common parts of forms relevant to your business – they can relate to simple information such as customer details or more specific functionality to look up information like a business ABN. Once fragments have been created, it’s easy to pull together multiple fragments to build forms, speeding up your form-building process and also ensuring consistency across your forms. When a fragment appears in multiple forms, any changes to that fragment only need to be made once – the changes are automatically applied to all other forms where the fragment appears.

For help getting started with Guided Forms, get in touch with Docusign today.

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