In most cases, your AppSheet apps start as a single view of your data, displayed as a list. On its own, this is prety useful; but there is a good amount of precious real-estate within your app that you can still use. With a few selections, you'll be able to expand the number of views in your app beyond the default, bringing richer visualizations and new ways for your team to interact with your data.
How can AppSheet display my data in a mobile app?
Today, I'll show you how to add Maps, Galleries, Charts, Lists, and Forms views to enhance your mobile app experience. Views are the way to go if you want to unlock your data from a table and add new functionality to your app. Let me point to an example we've used before. Assume we're a grocery and coffee shop distributor in New York City. The distributor is almost always out in the field and manages customer information from spreadsheets. The current set of customers looks like this (please remember, this is sample data):
We'll skip the first steps for creating the app (which is very quick! please go to our how-to page). Once you arrive at the app editing page on AppSheet.com, you'll be able to change the different views and test them as you edit your app.
First, the Live Emulator
Once the app is created, you will get to see it on the Live Emulator window which is a live view of the app where you can actually edit your data. The Live Emulator will come in handy to decide what to do with the available real-estate for the app. In the bottom section, you will notice the available views for it. In this case, there is only one view called Customers located at the bottom of the app.
Now, my data contains more than a single possible view. I have addresses, pictures of storefronts from Google Street View, and total orders for each customer. I'd like to use those data points in a way that helps me take more advantage it. This is where the additional views come in handy.
Adding a View
When you are in AppSheet's Basic editor, click the UX tab. In this section you can select the views to add to the app; there is a maximum of three views in the main page of the app, but you can add more views via the Advanced Editor, which will be added to the "hamburger" menu on the top right of the app.
To add a new view, type in the text box next to it the name you want to give to the section, and then press the tab button. The app will be updated and will give you edit fields for the new view. You can choose from four different types of views. Please keep in mind that the views will only work if the data you have matches the type of view (for example, Map View won't work if you don't have a column with complete addresses):
The Map view shows different locations listed your table in a map. This is particularly useful for teams that are distributed geographically or teams in the field that want to visualize key locations such as customer service providers or interest points. Map views are automatically generated when AppSheet recognizes a list of complete addresses in your app. For tips on how to best enter location data to use in map view, follow this link.
The gallery view needs images from your cloud folder or as URLs. I named the view Store and selected medium-sized images to be displayed. In our app, it shows the images we collected of the storefronts via Google Street View. This is a useful way of providing visual cues to staff in the field and to help the user quickly navigate to the right customer. Learn how to add images to your spreadsheet and app here.
Chart views work for numerical data. In our case, we have the total number of orders, so a view showing the orders per customer will help us quickly view the biggest customers. You will need numerical data to produce charts and you can currently select line charts, bar charts, or histograms. More chart types are on the way!
List view is the default view of your data, and you can select different types of views as well. In this case, we selected Deck so we can have a thumbnail of the pictures. Once you select any entry, a complete set of data that you can edit (if you've allowed this permission) appears. This is particularly useful for field teams that need to collect data on the go.
The Form view allows you to turn your forms into convenient mobile apps. You can both visualize form responses through an app as well as conduct surveys and collect data. Forms are a great tool for data collection and make it very easy for the app creator to view and interact with responses.
The AppSheet Google Forms add-on makes this really easy. Simply open a Google Form, click the add-ons button, and install AppSheet. Once you click "Go", you've created a mobile app based on your form data.
We are working on better ways to make your data truly mobile. We'd love to hear your ideas on data visualization from spreadsheets and other features to add. If you want to share those ideas, we invite you to join the AppSheet user community on Google+. See you there!