Posts Tagged ‘howto’

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How to Add a Waiver, Liability Release or Other Agreement to a Form

The Agreement form widget allows you to add a waiver, liability release, agreement, or any other contract (terms & conditions, privacy statement, policy) to a form.

Add a liability release, waiver or other agreement to a form

The Agreement widget is intended to be combined with a required checkbox and an e-signature to capture a person’s consent on an online registration or membership form. Please try this demo.

  • A user can read the agreement inline in a scrollable area
  • The text can be popped out to a larger window and even launched full screen
  • We provide print and download buttons in the pop-up window
  • Agreements are initially limited to 15,000 characters, please contact us if you need more.

Agreements are only available with the new generation of FormSmarts forms. You can set your account to the new forms in the Settings tab of the Form Builder.

Introducing Multi-User Accounts

FormSmarts now supports accounts with multiple users, allowing an account owner to give invited users access to selected online forms.

Multiuser accounts with FormSmarts online form builder

How to Enable Multiple User Accounts

  1. Set up an account alias
  2. Create users
  3. Manage user permissions

Set Up an Account Alias

Before allowing sub-users to sign in to FormSmarts, you first need to set up an alias for your account. The alias must be unique and easy for users to memorize. A good choice is probably your organization or department’s name. Users will need to enter the account alias on the log in screen. This short video shows how to create an alias with the API Console.

Create a User

As presented in the video tutorial below, the account administrator can create users with the API Console. The user’s email, with which she’ll be able to sign in, must have already been added to FormSmarts in the Settings Tab of the Form Builder and verified. The auto-generated password can’t be changed by the user at this time, but the account owner can easily reset it.

Manage User Permissions

For each form, a user can be granted permission to:

  • access individual form entries online or download a PDF (e.g. from the link in email notifications)
  • download form attachments (file uploads)
  • generate Excel reports
  • more options to be added

How to Sign In as an Invited User

We’ve updated the log in screen to allow all FormSmarts members to sign in on the same page. Account owners (aka account admins) can sign in in the usual way with their email address and password. Invited users also need to enter the account alias provided by their account admin as shown in this video.

Multiple users are available with our Business Plus package and above.

How to Lead People to Online Forms from Printed Material

Here are two easy tips to increase online form conversion from paper material: bridge the offline-online gap by allowing people to register for your next event, pay their membership fee, or sign up for your newsletter on the spot from any poster, brochure or printed document.

You are probably aware that you can easily share a form with your user base by email or on social networks using the FormSmarts.com URL that comes with each and every web form. What you may not know is that FormSmarts has two features that allow you to share online forms on printed material.

Using QR Codes & Short Form URLs

You can and should take advantage of the dramatic increase of the number of smartphones and tablets in the last few years to give people a convenient way to access your forms on the spot with their smartphone (or tablet) by either scanning a QR code that will lead them straight to your form or by typing a short URL (for those users that don’t yet have a QR code scanner app on their device).

You’ll find the QR code and short URL (e.g. f8s.co/lqh) of each of your forms in the Form Publishing Options screen of the online form builder.

Printed material where you should consider printing the QR code and short URL of your forms include: posters, invitations, printed newsletters, ads, brochures, job specifications, tags,… and even t-shirts.

Send us a picture of printed media where you use a FormSmarts QR code or short URL and you could win yourself a free Pro subscription! The best three entrants will be chosen on Jul 31, 2012 and will get a 1 year Pro subscription and their picture published on FormSmarts.

How to Integrate with FormSmarts API

The Event Notification API allows you to have FormSmarts send a machine processable ‘push’ notification message to a script on your website (or for that matter to any URL) to process the information that has just been submitted through one of your online forms. You can use the Event API (a.k.a. Web Hooks) to integrate FormSmarts with your database, website or any online service or application.

How to Integrate

Whereas this feature is mainly targeted at developers, creating a script that does something useful with the data received from FormSmarts is actually not difficult. The API is fully documented with examples in PHP.

  • You first need to create a program/script to process form data and upload it to your web server. Data is sent in JSON format, which is supported natively by all modern programming languages.
  • Then register the script’s URL with FromSmarts
  • Whenever a form is submitted, FormSmarts will send the data submitted through the form as well as other data pertaining to the form response (e.g. payment information if the form involves a payment) to the URL you have registered.

Have a Great Idea?

If you have a great idea about how you could use FormSmarts API, let us know: we have several Business Starter subscriptions to give away.

How to Customize the Look of Your Forms with CSS

The online form builder allows you to easily change the layout and colors of your forms when these are embedded into your website. This article discusses how to further customize the look of your online forms by providing your own CSS stylesheet. You can create one (or more) CSS stylesheet for each form.

Disclaimer

The feature discussed in this article is UNOFFICIAL. It is NOT PART OF ANY FORMSMARTS COMMERCIAL OFFERS and we do not provide direct support for it. Feel free to post questions at the bottom of this page. Changing the layout of a form may prevent it to display consistently across browsers.

Verify Your Site & Upload a Logo

To be able to use your own CSS stylesheet, your first need to verify your site and upload a site logo. Uploading a logo creates a website profile on FormSmarts and will allow you to provide your own CSS stylesheet. The logo will be shown on the standalone version of your forms and also on PayPal if you’re using Advanced Payment Integration.

Create a CSS Stylesheet

The CSS code in your stylesheet will be loaded after the default FormSmarts CSS, so any instructions specified in it will override the default. We give a few examples of customizations in the Example section below. More will follow.

Update the Embed Code on Your Site

In the HTML snippet given in the Form Publishing Info screen of the form creator, change the query string portion of the URL from mode=embed&lay=1 to mode=embed&lay=1&style=form.css, where form.css is the path to the CSS file relative to the root of your website. For example, if your website’s URL is http://www.example.com, the CSS file should be at http://www.example.com/form.css.

CSS Styling Examples

Changing the Font and Color of Headings

h2{
font-family:serif;
font-size:14px;
color:orange;	
}

Changing the Layout of a Form to Multiple Columns

Logical sections defined by headings can be made into separate columns using the following CSS code and changing the iframe width accordingly.

#section_1{
width:350px;
float:left;
}
#section_2{
width:350px;
float:right;
}

Online form with multiple columns

How to Lay Out Form Input Fields

Your goal as a web publisher is maximize the number of (legitimate) respondents to your forms. A first step towards this goal is to lay out your forms in a way that is intuitive to users, makes forms faster to fill in, and minimizes form validation errors.

It follows four points you should consider when designing a web form:

  • choose the most appropriate input field widget for the situation
  • group fields together within logical sections
  • place multi-line text input fields (textarea in HTML) towards the bottom of the form
  • group optional fields together at the bottom of the form

The first point is discussed in details in FormSmarts documentation.

The second point commends, for example, that when you ask people about their contact details, you group all relevant fields (first name, last name, email,…) together. We found that most form designers tend to do that right. The form builder will in the future allow users to define different logical (and visual) sections within web forms.

Multi-line text input fields obviously tend to take longer to fill in than other input fields. They require more effort, thinking and typing, so place them after other fields. Visitors will be less inclined to abandon the form altogether if they have already spent time completing the first part of the form.

The last point is about grouping optional fields together at the bottom of the form. This allows people to quickly review the remaining questions, and skip the fields they don’t want to fill in or don’t apply to them. This may of course conflict with grouping fields within logical sections. In that case, place optional fields at the end of each logical section.

We’ve now enabled comments, and we warmly welcome your thoughts and feedback about this post. if you’re reading this by email, just click on the title to post a reply.

How to Embed a Form Into Your Site

Linking or Embedding?

FormSmarts supports two ways to integrate a form into your website or blog: linking and embedding. Embedding lets you place the form on your site alongside other content. Linking gives your form its own separate web page. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Many users think embedding the form into their site gives them more control. That’s far from always being the best option.

Embed a Form When…

  • the web form is short — 10-15 input fields maximum
  • it is self comprehensible and form filling instructions are not needed

Mailing list signup forms and simple contact forms work well embedded.

Link To a Form When…

  • the form is long or complex
  • the form is accessed both by web visitors and via a mailing list
  • the form in intended for a large audience, that may be using a wide range of browsers and devices
  • your audience includes mobile phone users
  • you expect a large number of form submissions

Event registration forms and survey forms may perform better when accessed buy URL on their own page.

  • forms accessed by URL load faster and are more scalable
  • they are statistically more reliable
  • they offer more flexibility
  • there are no sizing issues

A word of wisdom: Resist the temptation to systematically embed web forms on your site for irrational reasons “because it gives you more (apparent) control”. Some web forms perform better on their own page.

Placing the Embedding Code On Your Site


To embed a form into your website, visit the Forms tab, and click Embed to see the form code.

Embed Form

Copy the HTML code, then paste it somewhere in the HTML source of the
host page on your website or blog. If you’re using an online service like Blogger, that’s
all you have to do. Otherwise, you need to publish the page to your web server.

A word of warning: do not try to save the form as an HTML page, and publish that page. This will not work. You must paste the code exactly as given. Do not attempt to alter, remove, or hide the mention “web form by FormSmarts”, or the link to our Privacy Policy. This would be a breach of our Terms of Use, and your account would risk to be terminated without notice.

Changing a Form, Once the Code Is on Your Site

Any changes you make to a form using the form builder will show up straight away on your website. You do not need to update the embedding code. However, as a result of adding more fields, or changing a text box to a larger text area, the frame containing the form may no longer be high enough to fit the form. You will then need to re-publish the embedding code to your site. See the section about Form Sizing below.

Customizing Your Form

You can customize several aspects of your forms in the Form Details screen of your account.

Web Form Sizing

Why Is There Extra Space at the Bottom of the Form?

Forms are contained within an HTML frame (“iframe” for geeks). The frame has a fixed size, which is computed for each form, based on several factors, like the number and type of fields used, and the form layout chosen.
It is necessary to leave room at the bottom of the form for error messages that may need to be displayed during a form submission. That’s the reason for the extra space at the bottom of a form.

Manually Changing the Height or Width of a Form

You can change the size of a web form widget by editing the value of the height and width attributes in the HTML snippet (a.k.a. form embed code) given by the form builder.
We do not recommend changing the height of forms. If you do, remember to allow extra space at the bottom of the form, as discussed in the previous section.
The width of embedded web forms can be resized down to 360px without side-effects, and should degrade well beyond that.

How Do I Get Rid of the Vertical Scrollbar

With time, you may need to add more fields to your forms, but forget to refresh the form HTML code on your site. Since the frame height is hard-coded into the code on your website, the form may no longer fit into the frame, and a vertical scrollbar will then appear. That is not desirable on a usability standpoint, so you are advised to update the code on your site whenever you add new fields, or change a text box to a text area.

Only One Form Per Page

It is against our terms of service to embed more than one form in a single web page.

Embed a Form to a Facebook Fan Page

The easiest way to add a form to a Facebook page is to use the FormSmarts URL that comes with each form. Click on the URL link in the Forms Tab of the form builder to show form URLs instead of embedding code. You may also embed the form into your Facebook page using an FBML Box. See instructions to embed a form to Facebook. Feel free to post your questions in the relevant thread of our forum on FormSmarts’ Facebook page if you need help.

How to Advertise Your Form to a Mailing List

A number of users take advantage of our flexible web form platform to
advertise a FormSmarts-hosted survey form or event registration form by
email.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you wish to include a form URL
in a newsletter or mailing campaign:

  • as specified in the terms of use, FormSmarts only allows advertising of a form URL by email for strict opt-in mailing lists
  • you must be a verified form owner
  • you may only reference the form by including its URL, and must not attempt to embed the form in an HTML email

If you intend to email more than 1,000 subscribers, ask for a permission beforehand. We may ask you to schedule your mailing at a specific time if the expected click-stream is high.

When contacting FormSmarts, please indicate:

  • the rough number of subscribers of your list
  • whether this is a one off or recurring mailing
  • the date/time of your mailing(s)
  • whether advertising the form is the main purpose of the mail
  • whether you offer any incentives for form submissions

This information will help us estimate the server load to expect.

Building Successful Web Forms

Web forms play a key role for visitor (and customer) interaction on many
sites. However, many web designers don’t realize that there may be huge
differences in form abandonment ratio, depending on how well the form is
designed. In this post and follow ups, we’ll give you some tips to help
you make your web forms an effective communication channel.

Always provide form filling instructions.

Don’t assume that all of your visitors will understand how to submit a form without further explanation. Short and clear form filling instructions can reduce form abandonment, and increase the quality of the information collected.

  • include a call to action phrase like “Please fill out this form to
    contact XYZ”
  • indicate the purpose of the form and the recipient of the information collected
  • if applicable, confirm that you will reply, and give an indication of the time frame

Select the correct data type for each input field.

Because of necessary form validation, choosing and incorrect data type may prevent a form user from submitting valid information. When this happens, it is likely to lead to form abandonment.
For example, if you specify that a form field can only contain a Number, it may not work for a phone number. 1233456789 will work, but not 123-345-6789. So use
the Phone type instead. In many cases, the form builder will
pre-select a type for you, but not always. Read
more about selecting an input field data type in the form builder documentation.

Choose the most appropriate input field widget.

Don’t restrict yourself to text boxes and drop-down lists. Take advantage of the full range of HTML form fields with radio buttons and checkboxes. Learn when to use each one.
Using a drop-down list for a yes/no question will slow down the form user, and increase the chances (s)he gives up. Use radio buttons instead. Read tips about choosing the best input field widget in the form builder documentation.

Brand your forms for instant visual recognition.

Always brand your web forms with your own logo. This helps visitors
recognize at first sight who they are about to send information to.

New Web Form Creator Demo Video Available

We’ve added a new demonstration video to help new FormSmarts users get started. The video is on YouTube, and a higher quality version is available for download form the Internet Archive.

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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.