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Wishful thinking Outside the Box?
With the thousands of Google forms being filled-in today in a regular “non-conversational” way, would it not be great to have a more human-to-human conversational type of form filling “ without re-designing the form in any way !”. This is in keeping with everyone shifting to chatbots because of the vastly improved and engaging “user experience” it brings! This article shows you how this can be done.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
The best way to understand this is to view a demo of the way a regular Google quiz looks and the way it appears when converted to a conversational form. You can do this as follows.
Go to a “Regular Quiz” example, the link is shown below :
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Now, here is the same Quiz converted to a Conversational Form
Here’s how it’s done!
To get access to the quiz source questions and answers you need to use a fairly common technique called “web-scraping”.
So, the steps are as follows :
a) The Quiz creator creates a Quiz in the usual way using the Google Forms designer at https://forms.google.com. This is the non-conversational quiz.
b) Get a public URL via the share menu.
c) Make a new URL by pasting the URL at b) after the = sign below, and navigate there.
http://www.colinrebello.com/GoogleBot.aspx?formurl=[Paste your form URL here after the = sign and remove the brackets]
Your Quiz will appear as a Conversational Form.
d) Under the Hood, the web page “unravels” the questions and answers from original page ie the form is web-scraped and converted into a form suitable for the Bot.
A Quiz is a simple example of a sequential flow ie one question follows another. There are situations where we may want to branch to another section of the form based on a specific answer. This is illustrated below.
Let’s suppose we have a website that shows off Products. The products are grouped into categories and depending on the category chosen the Bot has to ask the next question. Let’s say we have the following product categories
Beds, Cookware, Tables.
Under Beds, we have different kinds of beds, under Cookware different kinds of cookware etc. Unlike a Quiz that blindly goes to the Next Question, here is a case where we want to go to a different set of questions depending on what the user selected.
This scenario is handled by having a “goto <Question No>” against each answer option.
Let’s look at a form that has this kind of design. Here Selecting Cookware at Question Q5 branches off to Q7 via the goto Q7. Similarly for others.
Here is a form that supports branching
The converted form is obtained as shown above ie paste the URL after the equal to (=) sign.
What has been done here is to take two different software offerings: The Google Quiz Form Designer on one hand and the Space-10 Conversational Form converter engine (MIT licensed) on the other and put them both into a container that magically glues them together to work as one ! .
Perhaps, one day Google will add a Conversational Forms feature to their Quiz Designer. ! Until then, why wait ?. Go ahead, convert your Google Quiz to a Conversational Form / Bot and experience the difference in answering it !
Note: The app shown at the website above is not a commercial grade app. Right now its “Work in Progress / Proof of concept”, a demo.