‘Help! I Want to Create Online Forms, but Don’t Know Where to Start.’

Multiple stacks of papers.

Imagine not needing to find storage for stacks of paper forms!

If your business, nonprofit, or government organization uses paper forms, you probably already dislike the inefficiency and waste of resources that paper forms represent.

Paper forms made sense in the days when no better alternatives existed, but now that electronic online forms exist, it’s much harder to make a case for using paper forms. But what if you know your organization would benefit from online forms, but you simply don’t know where to start? Here are several ideas that will have you enjoying the many benefits of online forms as quickly as possible.

Many People Start with Paper, and That’s Fine

If you’re wondering what an online form should look like, you can always start with the paper form that everyone uses already. In fact, many migrations from paper to the web deliberately make the first iteration of the online form look as much as possible like its paper counterpart, because people can easily figure out how to use it.

If you want to try this approach, it’s a good idea to go over each form field on the paper form and ensure that they’re all necessary. If it’s a multi-page form and requires someone to enter their name or employee number on all the pages, the extra name or employee number fields are easy to dispense with, because they’re not necessary with online forms – including multi-page online forms.  Cut out any unnecessary form fields before creating an initial online form with your form software.

Browse Examples of Good Online Forms for Inspiration

Online forms have been around long enough that most of us know what a “good” online form looks like. We also know what a “bad” online form looks like. Unclear field headings, excessively long forms not broken up into individual web pages, and forms that give no guidance with things like which formats dates should be entered are some of the elements that make for less-than-ideal online forms.

Online forms.

Online forms, like paper forms, can be confusing if not designed with care.

Fortunately, you can look at some curated collections of great online forms. Hubspot offers a collection, along with details on what makes each form good. Econsultancy also offers a collection of examples of good online forms. Browsing through these can inspire you.

Choose Form Software with Customizable Templates

One of the most important steps you can take in your initiative to translate paper forms into online forms is to choose your form software wisely. More specifically, you can choose form software that comes with a library of form templates you can use and modify to your needs. This is often preferable for people who are new to creating online forms, because it allows them to get started more quickly with form designs that are already proven.

In addition to choosing form software with an extensive set of templates for you to use, you should choose form software with a user interface that won’t take long to learn. After all, if you buy form software that’s too complicated to use, or that requires you to understand things like HTML coding, you may give up completely before creating the online forms you need.

PerfectForms is online form software that not only comes with an extensive library of online form templates, it also has an exceptionally friendly and intuitive user interface, so you can drag and drop form elements into place. In other words, if you have a paper form you want to duplicate for online use, PerfectForms makes it easy. And there is no programming required.

If you’re ready to create online forms, but worry that it will be beyond your skills, PerfectForms invites you to watch one or more of our basic training videos. You’ll see for yourself how easy it can be to create pixel-perfect forms that are customized to your organization’s exact needs, quickly and easily.

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