Design Features for Usable Mobile Electronic Data Capturing Forms: The Form Developers’ Perspective

  • Alice MugishaEmail author
  • Peter Wakholi
  • Ankica Babic
Conference paper
Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE, volume 68/1)


Mobile Electronic Data Capturing Forms (MEDCFs) are electronic form applications that are primarily used for data capture using mobile devices in the place of paper-based routines. Translating paper-based forms to MEDCFs presents several usability challenges due to the design limitations of using mobile devices. The main objective of this study therefore was to define the most important design features that need to be considered when developing MEDCFs. Fifteen mobile form developers each received a semi-structured questionnaire via Email. The questions were derived from sub heuristics for mobile applications and were based on features that are common to forms such as form content, form layout, input type, error handling and form submission. The study identified the eighteen most important design features that all MEDCFs should have in order to provide a usable tool. These include feedback, logic implementation, form navigation, data input format requirements, unique identification, language translation and error handling among others. With a shorter design feature checklist specific to MEDCFs, and collaboration efforts amongst the various stakeholders, it will be possible to develop usable mobile electronic data collection forms.


Mobile Electronic Data Capturing Forms Usability Design features Form developers 



The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Pakhare A, Bali S, Kalra G. Use of mobile phones as research instrument for data collection. Indian Journal of Community Health. 2013;25(2):95–8.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kushniruk AW, Triola MM, Borycki EM, Stein B, Kannry JL. Technology induced error and usability: the relationship between usability problems and prescription errors when using a handheld application. International journal of medical informatics. 2005;74(7):519–26.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    King C, Hall J, Banda M, Beard J, Bird J, Kazembe P, et al. Electronic data capture in a rural African setting: evaluating experiences with different systems in Malawi. Global health action. 2014;7(1):25878.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tu H, Oladimeji P, Li Y, Thimbleby H, Vincent C, editors. The effects of number-related factors on entry performance. Proceedings of the 28th International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference on HCI 2014-Sand, Sea and Sky-Holiday HCI; 2014: BCS.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Haller G, Haller DM, Courvoisier DS, Lovis C. Handheld vs. laptop computers for electronic data collection in clinical research: a crossover randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 2009;16(5):651–9.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jones M, Marsden G, Mohd-Nasir N, Boone K, Buchanan G. Improving Web interaction on small displays. Computer Networks. 1999;31(11):1129–37.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jones S, Jones M, Marsden G, Patel D, Cockburn A. An evaluation of integrated zooming and scrolling on small screens. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 2005;63(3):271–303.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ehrler F, Haller G, Sarrey E, Walesa M, Wipfli R, Lovis C. Assessing the usability of six data entry mobile interfaces for caregivers: a randomized trial. JMIR human factors. 2015;2(2).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bargas-Avila JA, Brenzikofer O, Tuch AN, Roth SP, Opwis K. Working towards usable forms on the worldwide web: optimizing multiple selection interface elements. Advances in Human-Computer Interaction. 2011;2011:1–5.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bargas-Avila JA, Brenzikofer O, Tuch AN, Roth SP, Opwis K. Working towards usable forms on the world wide web: optimizing date entry input fields. Advances in Human-Computer Interaction. 2011;2011:1–8.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    JA B-A, Brenzikofer O. Simple but crucial user interfaces in the world wide web: introducing 20 guidelines for usable web form design. Croatia: InTech; 2011.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Miller S, Jarrett C. Should I use a drop-down? Four steps for choosing form elements on the web. Effortmark Limited. 2001;30.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nielsen J. Error message guidelines. Nielsen Norman Group. 2001:06–24.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Linderman M, Fried J. Defensive Design for the Web: How to improve error messages, help, forms, and other crisis points. Carmel, IN: New Riders Publishing; 2004.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pierotti D. Heuristic evaluation-a system checklist. Xerox Corporation. 1995.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Thitichaimongkhol K, Senivongse T, editors. Enhancing Usability Heuristics for Android Applications on Mobile Devices. WCECS’16; 2016, October 19–21; San Francisco, USA: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yáñez Gómez R, Cascado Caballero D, Sevillano J-L. Heuristic evaluation on mobile interfaces: A new checklist. The Scientific World Journal. 2014;2014:1–19.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tan CC. Mobile form design strategies 2011 [updated March 15. Available from:
  19. 19.
    Nielsen J. Usability engineering. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann; 1994.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Makerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  3. 3.Linköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

Personalised recommendations