Why is my online form suddenly blank?!

By Merlyn Taylor

We’ve all been there. Spent hours on a piece of work and then BANG! Your system crashes and you’ve lost all of your work. Be it an urgent report or an important presentation; most of us know that sinking feeling of losing hours of work when deadlines are looming.

As a member of the troubleshooting team, I understand the frustration when a problem occurs. I promise we are trying to minimise the chances of you losing your work, but unfortunately technology sometimes breaks and it’s important to take necessary steps to minimise the impact – (see Mohima’s advice blog).

This blog is to try to offer some insight into how and why you may lose data you’ve entered into a monitoring form or online application to help you minimise any fallout.

Your online form

Each time you register for an application, a unique web-page, or URL, is created which is dedicated to your application. The information for this web-page is stored on our secure server, but can be accessed by entering the unique web address or clicking on the link we send you. This page can be access by any computer connected to the internet, which means multiple people can access it and we can review your information, if you are having difficulties. While this does means two people can work on the form at the same time, this is something we would never recommend. When you press ‘Save as Draft’, the version you are working on will fully replace whatever existed before. While you’re working on the form, all the information only exists on your local machine. When you press ‘save’, the form on your machine will replace whatever existed on our server, while will include any blank spaces.

Connection to our server

To update your form you must be connected to the server, if not the information will not be saved. When you press ‘save as draft’, a pop-up box should appear as confirmation (see below).

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If not try to reconnect to the internet and press ‘save as draft’ again. If the issue persists copy the information into a separate document to prevent any information being lost and restart your computer.

Very occasionally we have known the server to ask applicants to ‘login’ when submitting their forms. While we try to minimise these occurrences, it generally means the server will not accept your application, perhaps as something has corrupted the link between your computer and our server. You will need to press the button to go back a page, copy the web address into a new window and copy the information across. If the problem persists please give us a call.

If the worst should happen

If you find you’ve opened your form and the information isn’t there, unfortunately it means it’s not on our server and we have no means to recover it. Occasionally your computer may have temporarily saved the information so you can check the form links in your browser history.

Just remember to save as often as you can and to contact us early if you think there’s a problem. The longer you leave it, the less likely it is we can solve the problem. We always suggest that initially you answer the questions in a separate document to reduce these risks.