The January 2021 release includes some major improvements to the form design experience. We've also rolled out features that will assist with data cleaning. And, you can now import existing forms you might have in XLSForms format. We've also made some changes to how you add handsets to your account.

Share best practice in your organisation with form templates

This long-awaited feature allows you to easily share forms across your account with the introduction of form templates. Any form (in any project) can be added to the template library shared within your account. Any user in the account can then choose the form template when creating a new form.

Duplicate and "copy & paste" pages, groups and fields

A handy feature you may have used before is the ability to duplicate a field. We've now extended this allowing you to duplicate groups and pages too! This will save you a lot of time when you need to re-use large parts of an existing form, or multiple fields. Simply select the field, group or page you want to duplicate and click on the icon.

Should you need to re-use a field, group or page in another form, you can "copy" the field, group or page to your clipboard. Hold down the SHIFT key and click on the duplicate icon - this will copy the field to your clipboard. In another window or tab, open the other form. You'll notice that when you click "Add field / group" - there is now the option to "paste" the field or group you copied. If you've copied an entire page, you'll notice that you now have the option to paste the page (below the link to add a new page).

Bulk translations

You can now download a single translation file containing all language variations for a form allowing you to translate content offline and import all the language variations for your form in one go.

Improved content formatting and include PDFs in forms

You can now easily include line breaks and format your content using markdown. Just click the "expand" icon if you want to start formatting multi-line content.

In addition to embedding media into your forms, you can now embed PDF documents. This feature can be used to include detailed reference or training material in your forms. As with other types of resources, simply upload the PDF to your project resource library and then reference it in your form using the "@" symbol. The Mobenzi mobile app will ensure the file is synced to your field team allowing it to be accessed offline.  

Streamline data cleaning using a hidden field

Any field can now be hidden during data collection. This feature can be useful if you want to include data that are editable once the form has been submitted but are not shown during data entry. A powerful use for this is to support data cleaning. Another situation where this feature might come in handy is if you temporarily wanted to hide a field without deleting it from the form entirely.

Unlike Calculated Value fields (which are also not displayed during data entry), the data stored for a field that has been hidden can be modified when editing the submission via the console. This allows you to (for example) create a field called "quality_control" with options of "Pending", "Cleaned" and "Query" (you could choose any statuses that suit your data cleaning process). By hiding the field and setting its default value to "Pending", new submissions will store this value initially. Notice that when a field has been hidden (configured in the "Advanced" tab), an icon appears at the top-right of the field to indicate this.

On the console, a designated user (e.g. a data quality manager) with the necessary permissions can review each new submission (with "quality_control" = "Pending") and - depending on whether it passes or fails their quality checks - can edit the stored value to "Cleaned" or "Query" as appropriate. As with any other field, changes are logged allowing for a full data cleaning audit trail to be maintained automatically. A comment can be included when saving the change allowing for further information to be provided (e.g. the reason that the submission has been flagged for query).

To keep track of data cleaning, you can use filters to list submissions that need to be reviewed (quality_control = "Pending") have been cleaned (quality_control = "Cleaned") or have data quality issues (quality_control = "Query"). These filters can also be saved as reports for quick access.

Import XLSForms

For some time, you've been able to import XForms, but a lot of users may have only been familiar with the XLSForm format (which allows you to build forms in Excel). The good news - you can now import both types of forms into the Mobenzi backend where you can then use our intuitive and powerful form designer to continue working with the form. As a reminder, you can also export forms in XForms format (but not XLSForm format).

Changes to how handsets are added/linked to your account

In the past, it was possible to add a handset to your account in two ways: (1) download the Mobenzi mobile app and complete the handset setup wizard; or (2) add the handset manually by specifying its IMEI (a unique hardware identifier that all mobile devices have). The first option has been the recommended method for some time.

Recent versions of the Android operating system have begun preventing apps from accessing the handsets's IMEI. This has resulted in some handsets - added manually using the second method described above and running certain versions of Android - not functioning correctly.

For this reason, we took the decision to drop support for the second (manual) method of adding a handset. All handsets are now added and linked by downloading and installing the Mobenzi mobile app and completing the setup wizard.