How to Use Logic Branching in Google Forms (and Why That Matters)


Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks

Google Forms lets you control the questions presented to users based on data already collected. It helps you ask follow-up questions that depend on earlier responses. But it’s not clear how — or why you should bother. Let me show you how it works.

We ask follow-up questions all the time. Here’s a few examples:

  • You’re planning a lunch event, and need to find out if an attendee has dietary restrictions. The people who answer, “No” don’t need to be distracted by a question asking what type of meal is acceptable (vegan, gluten-free, etc.).
  • We ask people using an eCommerce store where they found out about the website. If the user clicks a form choice that he learned about it from a flyer in a local coffee shop, we ask him to identify one of the three coffee shops in which we posted flyers. If the user instead had a personal referral, we might ask her for the friend’s contact info so we can send that friend a “thank you.”
  • We prompt for a location specification. A chain of car dealerships is in certain cities in a few states. To help users find the nearby options, we ask them which state they’re in, then follow up to ask about the cities in that state.

The technical term for this kind of survey logic and data management is logic branching. Google Forms calls its implementation threading and flow, and it’s mighty powerful. This short example shows how to put it to use, using that third example: the common state and city logic branching.

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