Archive for the ‘form builder’ Category

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How to Use QR Codes to Deliver Online Forms to Mobile Users

As more users are accessing online forms through a mobile device, we’ve added two ways to share a form with mobile users. Each form now comes with it own QR code and short URL, to be found in the Form Publishing Options screen of the form creator. We’ve also made it easier to embed a form on Facebook.

Why Mobile Users Are Important

  • Users are increasingly accessing online forms on the go through their iPhone, smartphone, iPad or other tablet. Recent figures from market research firm IDC suggest that by 2015 more US users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through traditional PCs.
  • Online form publishers can and should take advantage of the QR code scanning functionality available on mobile devices to bridge the gap between offline and online content. A QR code is a type of two-dimensional (2D) barcode popular in the mobile industry and for which free scanning apps are readily available for (if not built in) most mobile platforms. By printing the QR code provided by the form builder on ads, posters, fliers, and any paper form or document (mobile tagging), you’re allowing mobile users to access an online form without typing, simply by scanning its QR code with their phone. Avoiding typing is a convenience for users, and it also eliminates the risk of errors when entering the URL.

Share a mobile form with its QR Code

QR Code vs. Short URL

For those cases where distributing a QR code is not practicable and for mobile users who haven’t yet installed a QR code scanner on their phone or don’t know how to use it, we’ve also made all online forms accessible via a short URL such as https://f8s.co/7kb. If this doesn’t fully eliminate typing, it at least makes typing a form URL a less frustrating experience and shows mobile users you do care. And again, it reduces the risk of making an error when typing the URL.

Excel Report Generator Upgrade

If you’re using FormSmarts’ Export to Excel feature, you may have already noticed that we’ve updated the report generator. As well as several other minor changes, we’ve added a second way to specify the date range over which the report is generated (in addition to selecting a start and end date) by choosing a preset time period. This is meant to further simplify the task of generating a report. The preset periods available are Today, Yesterday, This Week, Last Week, Last Seven Days, This Month, Last Month, Last 30 Days.

For the time period options that depend on the first day of the week (This Week, Last Week), we use the default for your country, as set in your account. You can change this in the Report Generator under More Options.

Give Us Feedback

Do you find the new date range feature useful? Which one do you anticipate you will use most? Should we add more (e.g. quarter)? Please give us feedback by posting a comment, via Facebook or Twitter.

A Tip to Increase Form Conversion: Use Required Fields Wisely

When creating a form, the form builder allows you to specify whether your want each input field to be required or optional. The meaning of required is obvious: form users will not be able to submit the form unless a value has been entered for each and every required fields. For radio buttons and drop-down lists, that means users will have to explicitly select an option between the ones provided. The decision to make a field required is not to be made lightly, because that could frustrate the user and affect the form’s conversion rate.

Radio Button and Drop-Down List as Required Input Fields

The meaning of optional is more subtle as it is different for text input fields (text boxes, multi-line text areas) on the one hand, and radio buttons and drop-down lists on the other hand. That’s because in the latter case users only have a limited set of options to choose from, and the first option in the list is always selected by default.

In the example illustrated below, we’re building a registration form for an event. The form should accommodate up to two delegates. The first delegate is required, but the second one is optional. It turns out that:

  • The first set of radio buttons or drop-down list should be required.
  • The second set of radio buttons or drop-down list should be optional, with None as the default option.

Required or Optional Radio Button and Drop-Down List in the Form Builder

Because None is selected by default, the form user won’t have to do anything in the most likely scenario where he’s only registering one attendee. This will save him time and frustration, and will statistically increase the form conversion rate and reduce form abandonment.

Form Confirmation Page & Redirects

We’ve added two options to complement the default confirmation page that is displayed after a form is submitted. You can now:

  • Redirect users to the Return URL of the form
  • Show a detailed confirmation page where users can choose to receive a confirmation email or download a PDF receipt.

Redirection

Select the redirect option in the Form Details screen of the form builder to automatically redirect users to the Return URL of the form instead of showing them the confirmation page.

This feature allows you, for example, to redirect users to a download URL of your site after they’ve entered their information.

Redirect With Embedded Forms

If you have embedded a form onto your site and set it to redirect to the Return URL, some browsers may load the URL in the iframe that was containing the form. If you want the page to consistently load in the top browser tab/window, follow these instructions.

Note: Do not choose this option if your form includes a payment, as users would be redirected instead of being led the page where they are asked to make the payment.

Detailed Form Confirmation Page

The detailed confirmation page shows a summary of the data submitted and allows form users to:

  • Have a confirmation email sent to them
  • Download a PDF receipt
  • Print a copy of the form data.

Feel free to try this demo.

The form generator allows users to get a PDF or receive an confirmation email

Use the detailed confirmation page whenever you want users to be able to keep a copy/proof of the data they’ve submitted. This feature is only included with Business accounts.

PDF receipts may not display correctly in non-European languages (Russian, Chinese,…) unless the language is set explicitly with the lang parameter.

Setup Instructions

Set up form confirmation email

Visit the Forms Tab of the form builder and click the icon showing a pen to edit the corresponding form. Towards the bottom of the Form Details screen (pictured above), change the On Submission action to ‘Show summary with print, email & PDF options’.

Web Form Builder Upgrade

This release of FormSmarts introduces over one hundred improvements, leading to our most powerful, reliable and generous offer yet.

Important Reminder

Please add FormSmarts sender email formsmarts-noreply@syronex.com to your contacts, whitelist, or list of allowed senders and instruct any other form recipients to do so too. This should ensure your web forms are (and continue to be) always correctly delivered to your Inbox.

Increased Input Fields Allowance

To allow all users to take advantage of the new Heading and Text Block widgets introduced with this release, we’ve increased the number of fields you can use on a form.

  • FormSmarts Standard users can add up to 15 fields on each form using their referral points.
  • FormSmarts Pro users can add up to 60 fields on each form.

Be a Good Web-Citizen

  • Report bugs. However intense our testing efforts before releasing a new version of the form builder, bugs may remain due to the number of different browsers and versions in use. Please report any suspected bugs on the forum or by email.
  • Show your support. Whether you are a Standard user getting the web form service for free or a FormSmarts Pro customer paying the price of a business lunch for a year of service, please show your support by pressing the “Like” button on our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.

Major Changes

If many of the changes are improvements to FormSmarts server-side software which are not directly visible to you, all affect the quality of the service we provide you.

  • Form data storage and Excel reporting are coming out of Beta, and you can now activate those for each form in the Form Details screen of your account.
  • We’ve improved several aspects of the form creator‘s interface.
  • We now support headings and text blocks on forms; details in another post.

How to Add Headings & Text Blocks to a Form

Headings

You can now use headings to create logical sections within your forms. For example, you might need a Contact Details or Past Employment section. To add a heading, select the Heading widget in the Fields tab of the form builder. The new field’s description will become the text of the heading.

Add headings to a web form

Text Block Widget

We’ve also added a text block widget that allows you to insert text of up to 250 characters (up to 2,000 characters with a Business account) anywhere within a form. Example uses include:

  • Instructions for individual form sections
  • Question or sentence introducing a group of check boxes
  • Disclaimer at the bottom of a form

Text Blocks support some text formatting (bold and italics) and — most importantly — links.

Online form with text block

To add a text block to a form, select the Text Block widget in the Fields tab of the form builder. We’ve increased the maximum number of fields that can be added to a form to allow all users to take advantage of this new facility.

Add a text block to a form with the form builder

You may sometimes need to insert links in a form. For example, to provide a link to your terms of service or privacy policy, or to refer to an external document within a form. The form builder allows you to insert links, specify bold text, and italicize and underline text using the following wiki-style syntax:

  Text with Commands Formatted Text
Web Link This is a [http://FormSmarts.com link to FormSmarts]. This is a link to FormSmarts.
Email Link This is an [joe@example.com email link]. This is an email link.
Bold This text is *important*. This text is important.
Italics So is **this one**. So is this one.
Underlining Use underlining __sparingly__! Use underlining sparingly!
Unordered List * red
* green
* blue
  • red
  • green
  • blue
Ordered List 1. red
2. green
3. blue
  1. red
  2. green
  3. blue

Links and formatting commands are supported in text blocks, agreements, form filling instructions, form submission confirmation messages, and checkbox labels. Check out this example.

Ordered & unordered lists are only supported in agreements/waivers at this time.

  • Links open in a new window
  • Email links are not supported in checkbox labels at this time

Give Feedback!

We welcome your feedback about headings and text blocks. If you would like to give feedback about (or suggest we add) another feature, visit the forum on our Facebook page. We read and reply to all posts.

Changes in Form Builder Payment Integration

The recent upgrade introduces some changes in FormSmarts Payment Integration (PayPal Form) feature.

  • Chargeable items may now be placed in check boxes. This should prove valuable in situations where you’re building a form with one or several optional, individually priced items.
  • Payment button instead of link. We’ve replaced the payment link on the confirmation page by a more outstanding button.
  • Form ID now shown in PayPal report. Up to now, when you needed to reconcile a payment with the corresponding form submission, you could only rely on the FormSmarts Reference Number. This is the unique ID shown in the subject of emails containing form data and in Form to Excel reports. The same ID appears in the payment details in your Paypal account, and also in the CSV report you can generate. We’ve now added the Form ID (see screenshot) to the information available on PayPal, so you may quickly identify which form each payment is for.

PayPal form payment details

We warmly welcome your feedback.

New Form Templates: Tooltips, Mobile Forms,…

We’ve upgraded form templates over the last few days. This affects the look and feel of all web forms. Notable changes include:

  • Tooltips — A help icon next to text fields now shows the field’s description and validation information on hover. You may want to review the field description you provided at the time you created your forms.
  • Variable form width — The width of embedded forms can be resized down to 360px without side-effects, and should degrade well beyond that.
  • Mobiles forms — Although our forms have always been accessible to mobile users, we now provide a specific template for standalone forms accessed from mobile devices. If your site visitors include a fair proportion of mobile users, you should also provide a link to the standalone form whenever you embed a form on your site.

If you installed the form embedding code on your website before August 2008, you should upgrade it to benefit from the new features.

Important: We’re now publishing most updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages. Please subscribe for updates and service status information.

Your feedback is most welcome.

Web Form to Excel

FormSmarts allows users to collect online form responses on the cloud and export them to Excel at their convenience with the Report Generator.

Export form results to Excel/CSV

Activating Form Data Storage for Export to Excel

Export to Excel requires that data storage be enabled for each of the forms for which you would like to be able to access form responses online.

For privacy reasons, form submissions were in the past not saved on the cloud by default. For Business accounts created after March 20, 2017, storage is now enabled by default. This does not apply to Pro accounts, for which storage is turned off by default and must be enabled for each form when needed.

To enable stored form results and allow Excel reporting, visit the Submit Actions tab of the Form Details screen of each of the forms for which you would like to access form responses online, as shown in the video below.

Store form responses in database

You will then be able to download Excel reports from stored form responses in a few clicks with the report generator. Business-level members may also view individual form responses online and download a PDF Report.

To enable storage of form entries by default when you create a new form, check Turn on cloud storage for all new forms in the Settings Tab of the form builder. This option is only available in Business accounts and is turned on for accounts created after March 20, 2017.


This video shows how to set up a form to store form responses on the cloud for online access and export to Excel.

Excel Report Generator Settings

Excel report generator settings

Show Field Names in the First Line

If checked, the first line of Excel reports will show the name of each field. This option is enabled by default.

Week Starts

The report generator allows you to specify the date range over which a report is generated by either picking a start & end date or choosing a preset period of time (This Week, Last Seven Days,…). For the time periods that depend on the first day of the week (This Week, Last Week), we use the default first day of the week for your country (as set in your account). You can change this under More Options.

Time Zone

Preset time periods, date ranges and the form submission timestamp shown in Excel reports are now using your time zone (as defined in your computer settings). If you would like to generate a report using a different timezone, select the relevant city in the Timezone drop-down list. Note that the city selected by default may not be your city of residence, but it will be a city in the same timezone.

Importing an Excel Report

If an Excel (CSV) report contains text in a language other than English, you may need to change the character encoding to Unicode (UTF-8) in Excel’s Text Import Wizard, as illustrated below. The report may not display correctly for languages other than English unless the encoding is set to Unicode (UTF-8).

Excel Text Import Wizard encoding

Send Form Results to Multiple Email Addresses

We’ve updated FormSmarts form builder and form processing back-end to allow several email subscribers for each form. We’ll be releasing more subscription mechanisms later this month.

Before using an email address as a form recipient, you first need to add it to your account, and verify it. You can change the recipients of a form in the Form Details screen of your account.

The number of email subscribers allowed for each form depends on your plan.

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About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.