What I Learned from 13,000 Mobile Apps

By Jason Ganz on March 25, 2014

When people ask me what I do, I normally tell them that I work at a tech start up. “Awesome!” They inevitably reply. “What does it do?”

“We help companies go paperless by digitizing their paper forms.”

Blank Stare

“So like, what do you do?”

As a research associate, my day to day work varies. Last week, I answered this question “Well today, I went line by line through 783 forms, determining which of the 300+ new GoCanvas subcategories they should be placed into.”

Blanker Stare

Startup world does require real work.Photo credit: dierken via photopin cc 

Ok –it isn’t what most people would classify as thrilling. Yet the more time I spent poring over Canvas’s 13,000+ mobile apps, the more respect I gained for mobile forms, data collection and the ways in which they shape our workplaces, homes and communities. They are the thread running through pretty much every organization – just try to name an industry that doesn’t have any forms. While forms might not seem glamorous, they are essential to collecting and storing the data, without which modern society couldn’t function.

There are so many thousands of little details that need to go right for even a small business or project to go right. That’s why mobile forms and checklist apps are so important. Whether it’s the construction manager, using the equipment check-out sheet to keep track of valuable tools, or the restaurant owner, carefully poring over his produce inventory to ensure that only the freshest ingredients make it into his food, forms perform a critical function in most organization.

I also started to gain an immense respect for just how many things happen, invisible to most people, to allow the world to function. HVAC inspections ensure that our homes are heated in the winter and chilled in the summer. Have you ever been frustrated by the noise from a construction site? It’d be a whole lot worse if we didn’t have noise management forms to help control the problem. From controlling annoyances like noise, to preventing life-threatening fires, forms shape the world around us in thousands of subtle ways.

Forms also show the ways in which we make the world more inclusive. ADA checklists help ensure that those with disabilities will be able to access new hotels & motels. Autism education forms provide educators with a new tool in their arsenal to help students achieve everything they’re capable of. These forms make it easy for businesses, schools, and other organizations to improve people’s lives.

So no, going through all 13,000+ GoCanvas apps didn’t seem like that much of a chore in the end. To me, it served as a glimpse into the hidden forces that guides our lives each and every day. And I’m really excited with what we ended up with – a completely innovative new way to browse GoCanvas apps. So take a look around the new app store. Not only will you almost certainly find something relevant to your business, you could also learn a little bit about the way the world works.