As a company, data and intelligence are key to your business process. You need to know who your customers are, what they need and when they want it, and you need to know all that information NOW.
Collecting data can be relatively easy. You can simply setup an email form on your website and ask your visitors to send you the information you need. But where receiving data from your website is easily achieved, managing it and making it useful is much harder.
Fortunately, Google has produced a solution that allows users to set up website surveys that allow them to easily collect and manage the data they receive. It is called "Google Forms" and it is available free of charge.
Setting up a survey
Setting up a survey in Google Forms is very straightforward. Go to your Google account and open "Google Drive":
Once inside Google Drive, click on 'New' and select 'Google Forms':
In Google Forms you will be immediately sent to the page where you construct the survey:
Give your new survey a title and use the options to create the survey that you need. The options include Paragraph Text, Checkboxes, Multiple Choice, and a range of other features. Ten minutes playing with the options and you will learn enough to create the form you require. You can add images if you want, or even videos. There is a significant range of options you can use to enhance your survey.
Check what your survey will look like on your website
Click on "View Live Form" to see what the form will look like on your website:
Add the survey to your site
To add the form to your website, go to 'File' and click on "Send file..." which displays a code you can use to add your survey to your website:
Copy the code and add it to your site where you want the survey to be seen:
You can change the height and width of the survey by changing the details before embedding the form:
Check the responses you receive
Once it is on your site, people will use the survey and generate your required data. To see the data they leave, simply click on 'View Responses':
This will take you take you to the spreadsheet that holds all your data:
Creating visual representations of your data
Being in a spreadsheet, you can use Google Sheet capabilities to manage your data, in particular, you can create visual representations of the data. To do this, highlight the data you want to create a visual representation for, click 'More" and then the "Insert chart..." icon:
The system will give you a choice of chart types that you can utilize for the type of data you are using:
Choose one, click on 'Insert', and a visual representation of the data will be added to your sheet. A dropdown menu on your right offers a number of editing and placement options to enhance your visual representation:
Every time someone uses the survey, the details will update, and so will your visual representation.
What we have shown you above is merely an indication of Google Form's capability of collecting and managing survey data, but in fact a number of options are possible beyond this brief introduction. The visual representations you produce can be saved as images, or embedded in Google Docs documents to create detailed reports.
With all the options available through Google Forms and Google Docs, which include sharing documents with other users, Google Forms offers a powerful way to ensure the data you receive from a website survey remains manageable and readable.