Button Properties in Online Forms: Why They’re So Important

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms typically include clickable buttons that submit the completed form or take the user to the next page of the form.

Hands using laptop and mouse

The “submit” button on your forms may be able
to accomplish more than you think.

They’re basic elements of online forms, but with the right form software, you can access button control functions that can make your forms do more and work better. When you start using online form software, be sure to read up on the types of button control it offers, because learning these properties can help you design better forms, get higher form completion rates, and make the form user experience less stressful and more enjoyable. Here are some examples of HTML form button properties.

Buttons That Acknowledge Form Completion

Buttons that submit a completed form and acknowledge that the form has been successfully submitted are perhaps the most basic types of form buttons. Have you ever completed an online form, clicked “submit,” and received no acknowledgement that anything has happened? It can be frustrating. You wonder whether all the information you entered has gone into an online “black hole” or if it’s made it to the right destination.

When designing online forms, be sure to use a “submit” button that shows a success message. Your form software should allow this by simply checking a box and entering the text you want to appear when the form has been submitted successfully. A simple, “Thank you for submitting your form” message reassures users that their time has not been wasted.

Buttons That Open a New Web Page

Buttons that open a new web page are another common type of online form, especially with customer-facing forms. Landing page forms are a prime example of forms where a “submit” button opens up a new page.

Happy woman working on a computer drinking coffee

Buttons can take your form users to the right web page as soon as they click “submit.”

Your form software should allow you to choose button properties that redirect to a specific URL and open that web page after the form user clicks “submit.” Depending on your form software, you may even be able to configure the buttons to direct users to different web pages based on form input. That way, people who say they’re interested in one thing on a landing page form will go to the right web page for their interests, while people who say they’re interested in something else will go to a page consistent with their interests.

Buttons That Aren’t Available to Everyone

Sometimes forms need to include buttons that are only available to certain users. This may be true for employee-based forms. For example, you may use the same timekeeping form for all employees, but employees in certain roles may be allowed to submit their timekeeping forms without having to gain approval first.

Forms designed with role-based functions can help. Suppose an employee still in their probationary period has to get approval from their manager before submitting their time data. These users can be shown a clickable button that sends their time data to their manager, who then approves or denies the data. Other employees, who are not required to get approval for their timekeeping data will see a clickable button that sends their time data directly to payroll, bypassing the approval step.

Don’t let the buttons you design for your online forms be an afterthought. Know what you need them to do and be certain your form software is capable of handling those needs. PerfectForms is form software that allows users to create pixel-perfect online forms with no programming required. It allows for a range of button properties so that your forms behave exactly as you want them to.

You can test drive PerfectForms for free by signing up for a free trial. This is a great way to learn first-hand how easy online form creation can be. And if you have any questions, PerfectForms invites you to contact us at any time. 

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How to Measure ROI for Online Forms and Automated Workflows

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Return on investment typically depends upon time being saved.

Man with coffee checking his watch

Time saved is money saved.

Suppose you’re a baker, and you invest in an oven that allows you to bake twice as many loaves of bread at one time than you can now. The baking time that you save eventually means selling more loaves of bread and recouping the cost of the new oven. After you’ve recouped costs, you continue to make money on your investment compared to what you did before the investment. That’s return on investment.

Projected ROI is often the key point in making the business case for new equipment or new software. The people who control the budget want to know that money is being spent wisely and is ultimately for the good of the organization. Therefore, making the case for a swift and impressive ROI is often the key to upgrading systems, processes, or equipment. The same is true for upgrading workflows.

Traditional Return on Investment

The classic ROI formula goes like this:

ROI = [(gain from investment – cost of investment) ÷ cost of investment] × 100

So if you’ve made an additional $1,000 after investing $800 in software, your ROI would be:

ROI = [(1,000 – 800) ÷ 800] × 100 = 25%

The key is measuring how much more you’re earning now that you’ve made the investment, and it’s not always in dollars and cents. So if you invested in online form software and recouped the cost of the software through employee time savings and continue to save an additional 20 hours per week due to the software, you can translate that into money based on those employees’ wages.

Employee Efficiency Gains

Efficiency gains are often the main benefits of online forms and automated workflows. In other words, if you invest in form and workflow software and a process that used to take three days now takes only one day, that’s a major efficiency gain. It may mean you don’t have to hire an extra person, or you don’t have to worry about paying overtime, and it really adds up in the long term.

Team high five

Efficiency gains can save on overtime and may mean you don’t have to increase staff.

Other savings come from avoiding the cost of paper and ink, as well as avoiding time spent collecting, sorting, filing, and archiving all that paper. If you tracked error rates for manual processes and online forms, you can also assign value to error reduction, which is another great benefit of online forms and automated workflows.

Business Productivity

Higher productivity means making more product in the same amount of time. So if you make custom furniture and your woodworkers can’t begin a new project until they receive a paper form detailing the specifications of the piece of furniture they need to make, that’s time wasted.

If, however, orders are placed through online forms, which are automatically routed to any approving authorities as well as the woodworkers’ mobile devices, they can get to work more quickly, and there’s less downtime between projects. If it means they’re able to make one or two more pieces of furniture in a month, that’s higher productivity and higher revenues.

If you implement online forms and automated workflows, there are several ways you can measure ROI. Most of them have to do with time saved, greater efficiency, and greater productivity. And if you use outstanding workflow software like PerfectForms, you can set up workflows to automatically collect data and produce reports that clearly show where time savings occur and how productivity increases.

One of the best features of PerfectForms is its intuitive user interface, which allows creation of fully customized online forms and automated workflows without any programming. This means that form and workflow users can help with form and workflow design. And these are the people who are best positioned to know where bottlenecks are most likely and how to avoid them.

We encourage you to watch the PerfectForms demo video to see how easy it is to create your own custom forms and workflows, across departments, and across industries. And if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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Summer Is a Great Time for Schools to Update Forms and Workflows

Monday, July 15th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Few industries are as dependent on forms as education.

Elementary school kids running.

Backpacks have a way of eating forms that teachers send home.

Keeping track of hundreds or thousands of students who may be taking several different classes at once is a gargantuan task, and forms are necessary to track all of it. But forms don’t have to be on paper, and most people prefer forms they can fill out easily online, from their computer or mobile device.

Students may change dramatically over the course of summer break, so why shouldn’t educational forms undergo their own transformation over the summer? With the right form and school workflow software, forms can be created quickly and tested thoroughly, so they’re ready to go when it’s time for students and teachers to return to the classroom.

Basic School Forms That Work Better Online

It would be difficult to think of an educational form that works better on paper than online. Here are just a few of the basic educational forms that make life easier for everyone when they’re transferred from on-paper to online:

  • Application for admission
  • Application for graduation
  • Audio-visual equipment requests
  • Parking permit applications
  • Change of address forms
  • Transcript requests

Some of the “real time” processes that school administration handles also benefit greatly from being transferred from paper to online. For example, the log of pupils entering or leaving school at non-standard hours can be kept online securely, where records can’t be altered and where it’s easier to collect and analyze statistics.

Take Some of the Load off IT Workers

Choose your form software carefully, and your school IT staff will thank you. If you choose form software with an intuitive user interface, there’s no need to pull IT staff off their projects to write programs that create forms, or to figure out complicated software.

Happy woman drinking coffee.

With the right form software, the people who handle the forms
can have input into how they’re designed.

The University of Portland started out by asking its IT and web services department to create custom online forms, but it was an expensive and cumbersome proposition. Once they found the right form software, however, they were able to take that task off IT’s plate, create the custom forms they needed, and reap the benefits of moving from paper to online forms quickly.

Save Significantly on Printing Costs

Costs associated with paper-based educational forms go beyond the time spent keeping track of them, filing them, and archiving or destroying them when they’re no longer needed. There’s also the cost of the paper and ink necessary to make them.

The Visalia Unified School District in California turned to online forms when faced with budgetary pressure. The district, which has 27,000 K-12 students and 2,500 employees at 44 different sites, was able to replace more than 100 paper-based administrative forms and save significant sums of money by doing so.

By transitioning work order requests from paper to electronic form, the district saved $10,000 per year, and that’s just for a single process! The district quickly recouped its investment in form software solely from savings on printing and paper.

A lot can change over the course of a summer, and school systems can make changes that will save impressive amounts of time and money over the coming year by taking outdated paper forms and turning them into customized, easy-to-use online forms that are appreciated by students, parents, and school staff alike.

PerfectForms is online form software with an intuitive user interface that requires no programming whatsoever. It also comes with an extensive collection of school form templates that make getting started even easier. Best of all, you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial. PerfectForms also encourages you to contact us at any time if you have questions on transforming yesterday’s clunky, paper-based forms into beautiful, functional, fully customized online forms.

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Online Forms: Why Field Labels Are More Important Than You Think

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Online forms are information gathering tools. Poorly designed forms make the process harder than it has to be, but well-designed forms help information flow freely.

Happy woman using a laptop while lying on the floor.

Great online forms help the flow of information.

Think of the online forms you create as a two-way conversation between the form and the user. The clearer and more concise the form side of the “conversation” is, the more pleasant and productive the experience is for the user.

As important as it is to make the form the optimum length and to use it to ask for the exact information you need, equally important is how easy your form is to complete.

Great Form Functionality Is as Essential as Form Content

Companies may spend significant time determining the best length for a form, and the best information to require. But if the form is visually confusing or cluttered, potential form users may decide they don’t want to bother, or they may abandon their effort before they’re done.

Field labels must be located in close proximity to the field where the user inputs information, and there must be no question about which label goes with which blank field. Think about a form where field labels are placed on top of blank fields. It’s in close proximity to it’s assigned blank, but if the user partially completes the form and then leaves for a few minutes, they could be confused when they return. Does “City” correspond to the blank above or below the label?

It’s usually clearest when field labels are to the left of their blanks, in close proximity. In fact, this is a preferred layout for forms on mobile devices, where a single-column format is easiest to navigate.

Inline Field Labels May or May Not Be Best

Some form designers put field instructions inside the blank field itself. Then, when the user starts typing, the instructions automatically disappear. But this may not always be the best way to ensure form fields are completed correctly.

Confused boy on the phone.

Inline field labels aren’t always the best choice.

For one thing, these labels can by tiny and hard to read, especially if someone is completing the form on a smartphone. And erroneous typing in a blank also makes the prompt disappear, so a user may not know right away they have made a mistake. Field prompts outside of the blanks rather than inline ensure the instructions for each blank are always visible.

Avoid Acronyms and Other Confusing Prompts

Do you remember the first time you entered credit card information into a web shopping site and encountered a blank for “CVV?” Most people don’t automatically know what that refers to, so e-commerce sites commonly allow you to hover over the label to pop up an explanation that CVV is the three-digit number on the back of a credit card. Wherever possible, avoid using jargon or acronyms that the form user may not know, unless you also offer optional “hover” or pop-up help.

The labels that accompany blank fields in your online forms may seem almost like an afterthought, but they shouldn’t be. Their position, readability, and clarity all make a difference in the form user’s experience, and problems with any of these can lead to form abandonment. Test forms thoroughly before deploying them, asking for feedback on form usability, and you can avoid confusing form users.

PerfectForms is form software that allows users to create fully customized online forms by simply dragging and dropping form elements into place. You can easily change fonts, colors, and layouts so that your forms look great and make the user experience as smooth and easy as possible.

PerfectForms allows you to give your attention to both the content your forms ask for as well as the labels and other visual prompts you need to serve your users best. Have a look at the demo video and see for yourself how PerfectForms helps you create the online forms that perform exactly as you need them to.

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How Defining Task Dependencies Improves Forms and Workflows

Friday, July 5th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

The foremost principle behind creating effective and efficient workflows is that complex tasks must be broken down into discrete steps.

Step by step cubes

Defining process dependencies by breaking them down into steps helps you spot
inefficiencies and envision new ways of accomplishing the steps.

It sounds easy, and in many cases it is. But what if some steps depend on the start or completion of other steps? And what if one step involves the initiation of a whole new workflow? Here’s how task dependencies work. Understanding them can help you design your forms and workflows to minimize unforeseen issues and get them into operation more quickly.

Finish to Start Dependencies

Finish to start dependencies are the most common types of task dependencies your workflow software will deal with. It means that one step or task cannot begin until the preceding task finishes. A cake makes a good analogy here. You can’t begin frosting the cake until the preceding step (baking the cake) is finished. In other words, you have to finish this to start that.

Start to Start Dependencies

With a start to start dependency, a second task doesn’t begin until the preceding task has started. That preceding task doesn’t necessarily have to finish, but it must have begun. Staying with the cake example, you may find that the most efficient workflow is to make the frosting while the cake is baking. Therefore, the baking must begin before the frosting-making begins.

Finish to Finish Dependencies

Sometimes one task cannot finish until another task finishes. The two tasks may or may not be done simultaneously. In other words, the second task may finish any time after the first task finishes. Suppose there are some finishing decorations to our cake that we can’t finish until the cake is delivered. We have a finish to finish dependency between “decorate cake” and “deliver cake.” If the “decorate cake” task is finished, then we know that the “deliver cake” task has been finished.

Start to Finish Dependencies

Person sending an email.

You can start the billing process before other tasks, but you generally
won’t send the invoice until some later step in the overall process is completed. 

Start to finish dependencies are trickier. The first task doesn’t finish until sometime after the second task starts. Say we’re making our cake to order. We start the billing process when the customer places the order. But we don’t complete the billing process until after the cake is on its way to its destination. In other words, once the “deliver cake” task begins, the earlier “bill customer” task can finish.

Here is a summary table.

Name of DependencyDefinitionExample
Finish to startStep 2 begins when step 1 concludesYou can’t frost the cake until baking the cake is done
Start to startStep 2 begins when step 1 beginsYou can make the frosting while the cake is baking
Finish to finishStep 2 can finish any time after step 1 finishesYou finish final decorations after the cake is delivered
Start to finishStep 1 doesn’t finish until sometime after step 2 startsYou initiate billing for the cake first, but don’t finish billing until delivery of the cake begins

Parent-Child Workflows

Parent-child workflow dependencies are simply when one workflow kicks off another workflow. The child workflow won’t be initiated unless the parent workflow is happening. Our start to start dependency listed above could be viewed as a parent-child workflow dependency: putting the cake in the oven to bake kicks off the workflow of making the frosting.

When you understand the relationships between steps in a process, it’s easier to time them for maximum efficiency. And when your workflow software has an intuitive user interface, dragging and dropping discrete task elements into place and testing them is easy.

PerfectForms offers just such a drag-and-drop user interface, so you can create the most efficient custom workflows without having to program. You can find out more about how it works by having a look at some of our training videos, especially “Process Planning” and “Workflow.” And if you have questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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Use Radio Buttons and Check Boxes to Optimize Online Forms

Thursday, July 4th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Creating effective online forms is both an art and a science.

Man using a computer

Effective online forms must look good, and they must perform tasks flawlessly.

Form creators must gather the information they need, while avoiding overloading form users. They must make forms brief, engaging, nice looking, and easy to use if they want to get people to complete them.

One of the main reasons people abandon forms is that they’re too long or that they require more text input than is reasonable for a mobile device. And since more people fill out forms on mobile devices, it’s essential that online forms minimize typed input while looking good on the smaller screens of mobile devices.

Two ways that creators of online forms can maximize form engagement is by strategic use of radio buttons and check boxes. Here’s what they are and when they’re the right choice.

Radio Buttons: What They Are and When to Use Them

Radio buttons are selection indicators in a list of options in an online form. Before completion, they look like empty circles. When the form user selects an option, the circle is filled with a dot, and the other options are de-selected. This means that users may only choose one selection from the list.

Radio buttons make sense when you need form users to choose one and only one option from a list. They’re simple, fast, and effective, whether the user is in a desktop environment or is using a tablet or phone.

Check Boxes: When They’re the Most Appropriate Choice

Check boxes are empty squares that can be toggled to be checked or unchecked. The difference between check boxes and radio buttons is that forms with check boxes allow users to select more than one option if they want. In other words, checking one box doesn’t de-select other boxes.

Check boxes make sense when form users can provide more than one response. For example, in a survey form, you may ask users what their top three reasons for visiting your website are. Check boxes allow them to check three boxes, whereas radio buttons would limit them to only one.

Man using a phone

With radio buttons and check boxes, filling out forms on mobile devices is easier. 

Drop-Down Menus Are Good, but Radio Buttons and Check Boxes Are Better

Many online form creators use drop-down menus to help people make selections in online forms without typing. Users simply click or tap an arrow to be presented with a list of choices. And if the selection list is lengthy, then drop-down menus make sense. But in cases where the list of choices is relatively brief – say less than seven or eight choices – then radio buttons and check boxes get the same results and are easier for users to engage with.

People Like to Avoid Typing, Especially on Mobile

Strategically using radio buttons and check boxes in your online forms is great for mobile device users. Without a real keyboard, even the most accomplished mobile keyboard “swipers” can rapidly grow tired of entering text data – even with predictive text. Radio buttons and check boxes allow people to answer questions quickly and see clearly what choices they have made. They can be helpful for ensuring that form users actually complete forms and don’t abandon them in frustration.

PerfectForms allows form creators to include radio buttons, check boxes, and drop-down menus in the forms they design. These options help form creators collect and analyze the data they need while being confident that erroneous entries are kept to a minimum.

With PerfectForms’ drag-and-drop user interface, form creators can make forms look and perform exactly as they need them to for users in desktop environments or on mobile devices. And no programming is required. If you’re interested in form software that puts you in control and offers the power and flexibility you need, we invite you to watch our demo video. And if have questions, feel free to contact us at any time.

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10 Ways to Make Your Online Forms as Convenient as Possible for Users

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Forms are indispensable to online and mobile interactions. They’re a means to an end, but you’ll never get to that “end” if your online forms are poorly designed.

Man looking at his phone

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by long forms on mobile devices.

People mentally calculate their “interaction cost” when they encounter online forms. The higher the interaction cost (due to a complex, hard-to-read, or poorly designed form), the less likely users are to complete it. Keeping forms brief is essential. Beyond that, there are many steps you can take to make your online forms as convenient for users as possible. Here are 10 steps on how to make your online forms convenient for your users.

1. Help Users with Data Entry Whenever Possible

Autocomplete and auto-fill minimize the number of keystrokes form users must make. Autocomplete makes suggestions based on what the user starts typing into a field, like the first few characters of their email address. Auto-fill users browser data to fill in fields based on previously entered values.

2. Design Forms with Mobile Users in Mind

It’s better to assume that online form users will be using a mobile device rather than a desktop environment with a full-sized keyboard. When you design forms with this in mind, you’re likelier to minimize typing, keep forms brief, and take other steps to make forms convenient.

3. Keep Forms to a Single Column

When you place form fields in a single column, form users can see necessary fields more easily. Single-column forms are faster to complete, too. Multiple columns disrupt the user’s reading momentum, causing the eyes to zigzag, and slowing down form use. 

4. Make Form Fields the Exact Size When Possible

When you make certain fields (like the zip code field) exactly the right size, you minimize errors and prevent user confusion. For example, a zip code field with a width of exactly five characters prevents users from wondering whether they need to type in their five-digit code, or their zip+4 code. 

5. Alert Users to Errors Immediately

If a user makes an error that makes a field unusable (such as forgetting the “@” in their email address), a pop-up error that appears immediately lets them fix it and move forward. When people fill out an entire form, only to be notified of an error after they hit “submit,” they’re likelier to be frustrated enough to abandon the form altogether.

6. Radio Buttons Are Preferable to Drop-Down Menus

Happy girl with her dog

Radio buttons help people complete multiple-choice form fields with maximum speed.

Minimizing typing is important, especially for mobile users. Radio buttons and drop-down menus are two options that minimize typing. Radio buttons should be your first choice whenever possible, because they’re faster to use and less prone to mistakes. Drop-down menus can be reserved for multiple-choice questions where there are more than three or four choices.

7. Masked Input Helps with Long Number Strings

Masked input causes things like phone numbers to automatically appear in the (XXX) XXX-XXXX format when the user starts typing, making it easier to spot errors. Likewise, masked input that divides credit card numbers into chunks of four digits makes it easier for users to enter credit card information without errors.

8. Make the Correct Keypad Pop Up on Mobile

You can use HTML input types to cause the correct keyboard to pop up when a mobile user has to type in information. That way, if you need a user to enter their phone number, you can cause the number keypad to appear rather than a QWERTY keypad. This is another way to help users enter data quickly.

9. Reassure Users You Protect Their Information

People are increasingly concerned about sharing data, and they want direct reassurance that you protect their data, and that you don’t share it with all and sundry. When you include a clear, brief statement to that effect right before the user finishes, you reassure them that their time spent completing the form was worthwhile.

10. Make the “Submit” Button Obvious

Finally, make the submission button both visually obvious and descriptive. It should visually stand out from other field information, and if possible, describe what happens when they click. For example, a button that says “Create my account” is more meaningful than one that simply says “Send” or “Submit.”

The right form software is essential for designing online forms that people willingly complete. PerfectForms allows you to drag and drop custom form elements into place, and there is no programming required. Making mobile-friendly forms is easy with PerfectForms, as is adding features like pop-up error messages, radio buttons, and drop-down menus. You can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial, or if you would rather, you can watch our demo video to see PerfectForms in action. 

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How Online Forms Benefit Local Law Enforcement Services

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Police departments depend on forms for countless processes.

Woman police officer

Circumstances dictate many police actions, but non-time sensitive issues
can be addressed with help from online forms.

Though many of the forms police officers use have been put online and made mobile to streamline police operations, forms for use by the general public may still be provided on paper. This brings the problems of paper law enforcement forms (illegibility, mistakes, incomplete information, etc.) into the system, and makes it harder for police to provide certain services. 

Online forms for local residents to use for non-emergency situations can not only cut down on the use of paper and ink and the problem of disposing of them, they do away with illegibility concerns, cut down on mistakes, and get key information into the hands of police officers more quickly. Here are a few examples of online forms that benefit both law enforcement agencies and the people they serve.

Reporting Non-Emergency Crimes

Some jurisdictions have resources that are already stretched thin in response to more serious offenses like burglary, robbery, and violent crime. Yet non-emergency crimes, such as non-destructive acts of vandalism happen too, and they affect community morale. Online forms for reporting non-emergency crimes can keep police phone lines clear and ensure that incidents are reported and addressed as quickly as possible.

Citizen Request Forms

When concerned citizens notice an uptick of crime in their neighborhood, they may call their local police and count on the message being passed along to patrol officers. But police business is unpredictable, so it’s easy for such reports to get lost when something more urgent comes along. Online citizen request forms for extra neighborhood patrols eliminate many points of failure for such reporting and can be forwarded to patrol officers with no paper necessary.

Vacation House Check

Some communities offer the service of house checks while people are on vacation. Police officers will drive by a house on a regular basis while the owners are away to check for any irregularities or signs of a break-in. This too is an ideal service for using online forms. Vacationers can complete forms at their convenience without a call or visit to the police station, and the information in the forms can be shared easily with patrol units.

Police in fancy neighborhood

In some communities, police patrols will drive by specific addresses to monitor
for suspicious activity while homeowners are on vacation.

Reporting Abandoned Vehicles

Many communities have ordinances against abandoned vehicles, yet police frequently have higher priority problems to attend to. That’s why online forms for reporting abandoned vehicles make so much sense. These forms could even be designed so that users can take a photograph of the vehicle or its plates and attach it so that police know exactly what to look for. This makes it easy for law enforcement to deal with abandoned vehicles when they have room in their schedule, while having the pertinent information right on their mobile laptops or other mobile devices.

Reporting Gasoline Theft from Service Stations

Sometimes communities have problems with people pumping gas and then driving off without paying for it. While this is a big deal to service station owners, local law enforcement often has higher priority incidents to attend to. An online form for reporting such thefts helps gas station employees report incidents right away, while details are fresh in their minds. They could also indicate on the form whether CCTV footage is available that could help police identify suspects.

Not just any form software offers the flexibility, scalability, and power necessary to provide online forms requesting non-emergency law enforcement services. PerfectForms is online form software that allows users to create perfectly tailored forms by dragging and dropping elements into place. It’s even easy to add branding elements to online forms.

Moreover, PerfectForms integrates easily with spreadsheets and other office systems, collecting data from every form and routing it as needed. And it has built-in reporting features that allow law enforcement agencies, businesses, and other organizations to make sense of the data their forms collect. Did you know you can try PerfectForms for free by signing up for a trial? Why not give it a try? And if you have questions, we encourage you to contact us at any time.

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How Online Forms and Automated Workflows Help with Market Research

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Smaller and newer businesses may not have the resources necessary to contract out market research, or to use the more expensive market research tools designed for big enterprises.

Young marketers on floor

Regardless of your budget or company size, you benefit from regular market research.

However, they can use online forms and automated workflows to organize and manage their in-house market research efforts and gain valuable insights.

Ongoing market research is essential in a constantly evolving marketplace. When you conduct regular market research and analyze the data you collect, you can:

  • Create more compelling marketing collateral
  • Discover targeted niches interested in your products and services
  • Develop new products and services based on customer “pain points”
  • Recognize developing industry trends so you can act promptly

Here are just a few of the ways you can use online market research forms and automated workflows to improve your market research efforts.

Organize and Understand Data from Surveys and Landing Pages

Does your form software support web forms? It should, because web forms allow you to collect valuable information from the very people who are interested in the products and services your business offers. Not only can you create landing page forms that improve conversion rates, you can create on-site surveys and then funnel the data from them to databases and spreadsheets for analysis. 

Your online form software should be easy enough to use that you can do A/B testing of landing page forms to find out exactly what combination of elements results in the highest conversion rates. If your form software is difficult to use or has a steep learning curve, you may not bother with A/B testing, and could end up missing out on key insights.

Create Forms for Combing Through Secondary Market Research Sites

Many companies do market research by combing existing web resources like Facebook groups, Quora, reddit, and even Amazon book reviews. Forms and workflows can organize these efforts and help ensure that nothing of value is missed. You could, for example, create a form that your market researcher can use to record key URLs, assign a topic to the research, record keywords, and jot down sentiments expressed in user posts. 

Colorful word cloud

Plugging text from online reviews into a word cloud generator
can give clues as to what’s important to your customer base.

Your researcher could run the text from a relevant Facebook group through a word cloud program and identify words that show up prominently. These words could be entered into a market research form for follow-up, to help understand customer problems and sentiment more clearly.

Integrate with Databases, Spreadsheets, and Salesforce

Online forms and automated workflows that integrate form data with other office systems like databases, spreadsheets, and CRM systems (like Salesforce) help ensure that you gain a comprehensive, 360-degree view of your customer personas. Forms themselves can offer insights, but when you multiply those insights many-fold and feed critical form data (such as form users’ age, sex, or geographic area) into a spreadsheet, suddenly you can process that data to learn far more.

Does your form software integrate easily with commonly used office tools like spreadsheets and databases? If not, you could be unnecessarily limiting the insights your forms could be delivering, and inadvertently hindering your market research.

Online forms and workflows are flexible, multi-purpose business tools. Your form and workflow software should make these tools as easy as possible to use, whether for market research or any other business process. PerfectForms is online form and workflow software that offers an intuitive, user-friendly interface, so you can climb the learning curve in no time.

It also supports web forms and integrates with office software like the spreadsheets and databases you use every day, and even Salesforce CRM. Give your team the tools they need to get the most from market research. Not only will the market research be more efficient and thorough, you can develop insights that you might never have discovered otherwise. If you would like to know more, PerfectForms invites you to watch our demo video. 

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Online Forms: Create, Deploy, Report & Integrate on Your Time Scale

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 by PerfectForms Editors

Everyone knows that the benefits of online forms are better in every way compared to paper forms.

Sad woman with lots of paperwork

Learn to do this electronically and you can save time, money, and physical resources.

You have many options for creating online forms, and some of the office software packages you already use may allow basic form creation.

But extracting the most value from online forms requires more than just shoe-horning your form into a word processing program and hoping for the best. At the same time, you don’t want to have to hire a programmer to create custom forms that collect and process data the way you need. That can take significant time and money.

What you need is a comprehensive online form and workflow solution that doesn’t require programming, yet empowers you to extract maximum value from your online forms.

Create Forms That Do Exactly What You Want

Templates for online forms can be great starting points, but sometimes you have to create a form that is unique. For this you need form software with an intuitive user interface that lets non-technical users nonetheless create powerful, functional, fully-customized forms. Only then can you collect the data you need easily, route and process the data properly, and gain the most value from the data while saving time and physical resources like paper.

Deploy Forms on a Tight Time Scale

Who has time to wait six months for customized forms to be created by a programmer? Sometimes you need online forms right away. Other times you need customized online forms, but only for a short time period (such as in association with a one-time event). Form software isn’t doing its job unless it enables you to create the forms you need when you need them, to test them quickly, and then publish workflows in a timely manner.

Businessman pointing at a watch

Your form software should save time, not waste time.

Report on the Data Gathered by Your Forms

Not all forms require reporting, but almost all processes that require forms can benefit from gathering, analyzing, and reporting on the data they collect. Maybe your job is to accept citizen applications for tree seedlings in coordination with a city-wide Earth Day celebration. The primary purpose of your forms is to connect the seedlings with the right people. But what if your form software could collect the data, organize it by neighborhood, and show you exactly which neighborhoods participate most, and which seedlings are most popular? Suddenly you have data that can help you make next year’s event even better!

Integrate with Other Systems to Extract More Value

Integrating forms with each other and with other office systems is the basis of countless automated workflows. Integration means that data entered on a contact form online automatically goes into your Salesforce CRM. It can also mean that order data is automatically routed to databases that help you forecast demand and meet customer needs better. Can your form software do this? If not, it’s time to take another look at the possibilities.

PerfectForms is online form software and workflow software in one. Without writing a single line of code, you can create pixel-perfect online forms exactly to your specifications. Not only that, you can test and deploy them quickly, and integrate them into sleek automated workflows. Along the way, you can collect data for workflow reporting purposes, and route data collected into your CRM, databases, spreadsheets, and other office systems. In other words, you can extract every last drop of value from the data your forms collect.

Are you interested in learning more? Watch the demo video or look through our case studies to see the many ways PerfectForms transforms business processes for the better.