Our blog series of handy hints and tips for HotDocs template authors continues with advice on how to maximise the benefits of display text in HotDocs interviews.
After you’ve created a template, it’s worth spending a little time to make the interview as user friendly as possible. The easier your interview is to understand the less likely it is that your users will make mistakes. Taking the time now to create a really clear interview can save you time later chasing up users to clarify incorrect answers.
When you’re creating an interview there are 3 main things that can help your user:
- Make sure each variable in the interview has clear and understandable prompt text that helps the user know what answer they need to enter.
- Group related variables together into dialogs. For example, if you group Spouse Name, Spouse’s Phone Number, and Spouse’s Date of Birth onto one page within the interview the user can clearly see whose information they need to enter at each field.
- Make sure each dialog in the interview has a useful title. The dialog title appears at the top of the dialog during the interview and in the interview outline. Giving a dialog a title like Spouse Information helps the user to find it quickly from the outline and it also puts the questions on that dialog in context.
To improve the user’s interview experience further there is a clever HotDocs features you can make use of:
Using Variables to Dynamically Update Prompts, Titles, and Dialog Element Text
Just like you would place a HotDocs variable field in a template, you can also place variable fields in variable prompts, dialog titles, and in dialog element text.
For example, if you were creating a will, you may have a dialog where the user can fill in the details of their main beneficiary. Further on in the interview, if you want them to answer more questions about that beneficiary, you could create a variable to use the beneficiary’s name in the question prompt. Now instead of “Enter the amount you want to leave to main beneficiary” it would say “Enter the amount you want to leave to Mrs Claire Jackson”
To do this:
- Open Component Manager and edit the variable you want to give a dynamic prompt. Keep Component Manager and the variable choice editor open side by side.
- In Component Manager, locate the variable you want to use in the prompt and drag it into the prompt field.
- Click Save.
You can now test how this looks in a test interview:
- Click Test.
- Enter the information for the variable you are using to create the dynamic prompt.
- Click Next and view that information appear in the prompt of your selected variable.
If we take the example above about the will, you could open a variable called MainBeneficiaryAmount and write in the prompt field “Enter the amount you want to leave to”. Then you drag the variable called MainBeneficiaryName into the space after the word “to”. When you test the MainBeneficiaryAmountvariable, you first enter “Mrs Claire Jackson” then when you click next you see “Enter the amount you want to leave to Mrs Claire Jackson” above the next answer field.
This method also works in dialog titles and dialog element text.