Building a Sports Club Registration System with #nocode - Part 1 "The Form"

Many sports clubs run on paper, and lots of it.

And with rugby clubs, a scribbled down email address on a rainy Sunday in England ... isn't the most durable medium.

So, how to move from an A4 page of registration details, to a simpler new player registration system with #nocode that anyone can build. You don't need to be a computer wizard to do this, anyone can.

We are going to use Google Forms, Twilio, Insightly and Zapier here.

  • Google Forms - An electronic form
  • Twilio - Sends out SMS text messages
  • Insight.ly - This will be where the details are held
  • Zapier - This is the glue that combines all the above elements

You don't actually need Twilio but it does make life easier and for a small outlay makes your club registration look very swish.

Of course it doesn't have to be a sports club registration system you are building, it could be a new Baby and Toddler group, or for an event your are running. Anything where you want to take someone's details really quickly and confirm their details.

Firstly we are going to need a Google Account to create our form assuming you haven't got one already. If not head here ... https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?hl=en

Once you have a Google Account you can then go to Google Forms ... https://www.google.co.uk/forms/about/

Here we are going to very simple form that will take the basic details of the new person, and then allow them complete further details at a later date.

Select "Start a New Form" from the top.

Change the Name of the Form and then add 4 new questions, First Name, Surname, Email Address and Mobile Phone Number.

Google forms has some magic where it recognises what your have typed in as a Question, so when you type "Surname" it will make the Answer input "Short-Answer Text". Which is very helpful, but do check that each Answer has this format.

We are going to make each Question "Required" so flick the switch below the Question.

At this stage the form is pretty much done, but we can do a couple of things to make life easier for ourselves later on. This is optional, but really useful.

We are going to add some validation to the Email Address and Mobile Phone number fields, so that when we are typing them in hurry on the day we get them right. So click on a Question, and then on the three dots next to the "Required" switch, and then on Data Validation (these three dots tend to mean "There is more advanced stuff here" ... and are sometimes refereed to a "Meatball Menu" because they looks like three meatballs on top of each other !)

You will then see the "Data Validation" area appear.

We are going to set up some validation to check we have a valid email address.

Select "Text" in the first box. Then "Email". Finally we enter an error message.

And then we are going to do the same with the Phone Number.

OK, this looks a little complex, but we don't really need to know exactly how it works.

Select "Regular Expression" in the first box. "Contains" will be filled for you but change it to "Matches". Then add the following in the pattern box.

[0-9 ]+

Finally we enter an error message.

A Regular Expression (or Regex) is just a way to match patterns in inputs. The one above says "You can only have numbers or spaces".

The best way to validate an email (or phone number) is to send a message, and we will do that in the next lesson. However I find that if you are in a hurry entering some details, a little help is very handy.

And that is it. Our form is ready to go.

We can preview the form with the little Eye symbol, change the colours. And when we are ready we can "Send".

In this case we are not sending the form out to people via email, we are going to use it ourselves to register people as they arrive. So we choose the middle option for "Send via" which generates a link to a web page. You can choose the make the web page a bit shorter too.

So now we are ready to register people with just our phone or tablet. It automatically gets formatted so it is finger friendly.

They arrive, you say "Can I just take a very few details", you enter them on your phone ... and what happens next is very cool, but that is subject of the next step.

Nigel Godfrey

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Brockham, UK
@NigelGodfrey