Functional Forms Add Spring to Your Website [ARTICLE]

FormSpringForms, surveys and shopping carts are great for collecting valuable information from website visitors, but because they required hours of your time and/or cost hundreds of dollars to pay a programmer, they were out of reach for many. Now you can easily gather and save data from users and customers with simple-to-build web forms from FormSpring. These customizable forms easily integrate with your website as well as third-party applications, and they don’t require programming experience, software installation or other special skills.

How it Works

With functionality simple enough for noobies and advanced enough to please the most experienced programmers, FormSpring is a powerful tool. An intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets you build your form with fields and functions: from name and address to CAPTCHAs and conditional logic. Your completed form can be integrated with your website using a URL link (easiest), embedding JavaScript (slightly harder) or adding the auto-generated HTML to your own code (advanced users only, please).

FormSpring create form

With FormSpring you’ll also have more power to view and manage the data you collect. For starters, you won’t have to worry about users skipping required fields, improperly formatting email addresses or submitting phone numbers inconsistently. Those are all settings that FormSpring can automatically enforce.

The data collected by your form is stored online in your FormSpring account where you’ll find extensive options for viewing, sorting, or exporting it any time. You can even keep your data protected with FormSpring’s SSL and password encryption, an important requirement for storing credit card information.

Advanced Features

Because FormSpring is so easy to use, you’ll be exploring dynamic features you previously never thought were possible. For example, you can create surveys with interactive “if/then” questions. So, if someone answers “yes” to a question, a new field can be displayed asking them for more details. Or you can make real-time calculations based on users’ actions such as adding up a shopping cart or applying taxes to a purchase.

FormSpring conditional logic

You also can get information into the right hands faster when you use FormSpring’s Smart Routing feature. This lets you instantly follow up data submissions with a customized message or email to the user, or you can route completed forms to proper internal department contacts for their personalized follow up: accounting questions go to someone in accounting; advertising requests go to the advertising director.

Data collected using your forms easily integrates with customer relationship management software like Salesforce.com and Highrise, email marketing tools like ExactTarget and MailChimp, accounting programs and payment processers like FreshBooks.com, PayPal and more. If you want to integrate collected data with your own proprietary software, the open API gives a programmer the freedom to make it happen, or you may want to explore ways you can use FormSpring’s data downloading options.

How it Looks

Function doesn’t come at the expense of form (no pun intended) with FormSpring. Resulting forms look great on their own or you can apply FormSpring’s default designs. You can even upload your own designs, using HTML and/or CSS to exactly match your existing website.

What it Costs

FormSpring offers a free account option where you can create up to 3 forms, and each of those 3 forms can have up to 10 fields and be completed by up to 50 people. This may be all you need to survey the softball players about a team name. However, if you want to build a more powerful customer database, create multiple forms, or use secure forms and payment integration, you’ll need one of the paid subscription plans.

Start Creating

With its free sign-up option, intuitive interface and intelligent features, you’ve probably already started thinking of an excuse to use FormSpring. The site provides lots of creative suggestions for small businesses, nonprofits, educators, municipalities and sports venues. Here are just a few examples for inspiration:

  • Online job applications
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Volunteer recruitment
  • Contests/promotions
  • Evaluation forms for courses, speakers or teachers
  • Class registrations
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Opinion polls
  • Event registrations
  • T-shirt orders and payments
  • Online donations