Mobile-friendly online forms are an essential tool for schools and districts of all sizes. From inquiry forms to donation and payment forms, online forms can simplify processes for your entire community — especially when that community is virtual.
With such an importance placed on forms, shouldn’t there be an easier and more efficient way to create, edit, and share forms with a modern, powerful, and easy-to-use online form creation tool that also makes analyzing online forms just as simple?
Yeah, we thought so too. That’s why we completely reimagined the way schools and districts create and use forms with Finalsite Forms, and it’s already integrated with your website and data toolkit — eliminating the need for separate forms or survey software. Let’s dive into the top five ways this module can save you time and enhance communications.
1. Finalsite Forms is incredibly easy to use
Finalsite Forms was built and designed with you and your community in mind, making the form creation, completion, and submission process easier every step of the way through numerous additions, improvements, and streamlined processes.
From that very first time you open Finalsite Forms to your every day work schedule, the simple and intuitive user interface will guide you through a refined form creation process as you navigate the module and edit with a modern aesthetic that matches our modern software environment.
Since Finalsite Forms is a module for our content management system, Composer, every form you build and add to your website with Finalsite Forms will automatically inherit the page’s design, eliminating the need for or reliance on iframed forms to copy the page’s design.
This simple feature means Finalsite Forms can be the all-in-one form creation, sharing, and analysis platform for your school, cutting costs spent on third-party form providers. Now, with Finalsite Forms, everything you need to bring your forms to life is located under one roof.
Finalsite Forms also includes a handful of smaller features that, when bundled together, add up to dramatically improve the form creation process through enhanced control over how you design your forms and how you want your school community to interact with the forms you create.
Admins have greater flexibility when adding columns to forms, creating layouts up to four columns wide, making it easier to build forms with a larger number of multiple choices. Of course, choices can also still be set to display inline or in a single column for questions with just a few choices. Not only does this flexibility allow for more ways to design forms, but it also helps shorten forms to fit more easily on your website pages and scale responsively with mobile devices.
Admin users can also control the number of accepted answers in their forms by limiting the accepted date range and days of the week that a user can select. This is perfect for situations like Open House events when you only have scheduled events on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, for example, and you only want visitors to pick from those four specific days.
With Finalsite Forms, you can ensure that visitors are not selecting Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday as Open House dates, demonstrated below with the blue circles for dates that a visitor can select.
This control is further expanded through the ability to display fields in a form based on the date and time. This allows admins to create longer, more complex forms that only display specific fields at predetermined dates and times, rather than creating new forms for each new event.
For example, rather than creating a new form for each field trip during the school year, an admin user can create one field trip form where the fields for specific field trips are automatically displayed after the previous field trip has occurred. As the school year progresses, this hypothetical field trip form naturally adds upcoming field trips without the need for manual editing in the future.
2. Finalsite Forms provides a great experience for your users
Finalsite Forms makes it easy for both you and your school community to use forms as a way to stay engaged online through an enhanced, simplified, and powerful user experience that makes the form completion process as unobtrusive as possible, unlike third-party providers that can be confusing to navigate, complete, or ask for additional information your community might not want to provide.
A simple payment experience can make or break someone’s desire (and ability) to complete the transaction. Finalsite Forms aims to increase submission rates and reduce confusion by streamlining the entire process with the payment fields at the bottom of the form — instead of on a separate page — including offline payment and online credit card payment options.
This is an upgrade from our previous form-building tool, Forms Manager, which required two pages for payment forms: one page for the form’s questions, and a second page for the payment information. This two-page process created a secure payment process, but it could also cause confusion and frustration for some that lead to abandoned transactions.
The Finalsite Forms payment process is further simplified for your community through dedicated currency fields with custom minimum and maximum prices. These custom prices guide users to fill out a range of specific prices that are allowed. This also creates a better process for admins by alleviating the potential issue of users bypassing a currency field by submitting “$0.00” as the value.
Now, users must meet the custom price requirements before they can submit their form.
Multiple field conditionals can drastically shorten a form by hiding fields and only displaying them based on the answer to multiple previous fields earlier in the form. With Finalsite Forms, rather than building a Summer Camp form with every possible field displayed for each activity, you can choose to only display the fields relevant to users as they complete the form, hiding form fields that don’t match or relate to the choices they make.
If a middle school student is only interested in the Soccer and Arts activities in the afternoon, all the choices related to elementary and high school students, as well as all of the morning and evening choices, can remain hidden, turning what could otherwise be a gigantic form that’s largely irrelevant to this particular student into a quick and easy form to complete in just minutes.
Admin users can also establish a maximum number of choices that a submitter can select for multiple choice fields. Going back to our hypothetical Summer Camp form, you can limit the number of choices a student can select to just two, Soccer and Arts as in our above example, from a larger list of 12 different activities available.
Bundled together, the ability admins have to display or hide conditional fields with the ability to limit the number of choices available dramatically shortens the time it takes users to complete a form without overwhelming them with potentially dozens of irrelevant choices. Overall, this simplification creates a significantly smoother user experience.
3. Finalsite Forms provides more flexible admin controls
Finalsite Forms fits seamlessly into your communication plan with powerful admin tools so you can manage the forms you create in many new ways. This is best demonstrated with Finalsite Forms’ folder-based organizational structure with permissions established on a per-folder basis to give lower-level admin permissions to just the forms located within specific folders.
This enhanced folder-based organization allows you to quickly organize all of your likely hundreds (or thousands) of forms by department, grade level, topic, school year, etc., while also ensuring that only those people within each department of your school (admissions, communications, financial, etc.) have permission to access and edit the forms relevant only to their department.
Overall, this multi-layered approach to form organization and permissions means you’ll be able to more easily sort and find forms in the future while knowing exactly who has access and the ability to edit forms within specific folders, eliminating the need to track down who made rogue edits to a form from a list of your entire school administration staff.
Admins can also send conditional, targeted notifications notifications to various email addresses based on when a form was submitted or based on the answers chosen in a form. These conditional notifications streamline the post-completion process for forms by information directly to the most appropriate member of your school staff. For example, you can automatically route form information to your basketball coach when a “Sports Inquiry Form” detects that a prospective student is interested only in basketball.
Lastly, admins can enable reCAPTCHA on forms to require submitters to successfully answer a CAPTCHA before the form can be submitted. These simple CAPTCHAs ensure submissions are legitimate and not from spam bots submitting forms. It’s just one more additional bit of control that admins have when creating forms to create an overall more pleasant experience for both admins and their school community.
4. What can you build with Finalsite Forms?
With an expansive list of new and improved features (and even more to come in the future), Finalsite Forms is the all-in-one form creation, sharing, and analysis tool that your school can use to create forms for nearly any use you can think of.
A streamlined and refined payment process makes it easier-than-ever to build donation forms for your annual Giving Day, while the same payment processing tools can be used for your online school store, lunch menu order forms, and field trip payments.
Extensive conditional fields to dramatically limit the number of fields displayed are perfect for creating job applications, feedback and inquiry forms, and event registration forms that would otherwise be extremely long and take forever to complete.
Improved column-based display for multiple choice answers makes it easier to embed forms on your webpage without taking up too much space or dominating the page through sheer length, while the ability for forms to automatically inherit a page’s design means forms look like an organic extension of any page.
5. We’re excited to announce that Workflows will soon be integrated with Finalsite Forms
A form submission often serves as the starting point of an inbound marketing strategy. Finalsite Forms can capitalize on this by connecting form submissions to Finalsite Workflows to create one continuous, automated set of emails that nurture constituents along a guided journey from their first form completion to end goal.
For example, once someone submits an “inquiry” form, they can automatically be enrolled into a set of emails to keep them engaged until they apply. If that application form was also powered by Finalsite Forms, the completion of that form could also remove an individual from a workflow.
Workflows can be created to turn inquiries into applicants, welcome new families and staff, promote events, share senior class exit strategies, send summer reading reminders, and so much more. Whatever you decide, the power of Finalsite Workflows can guide form submitters along a predetermined path you’ve established for them, branching off along the way depending on their choices to follow-up emails (or lack thereof).
This integration between Forms and Workflows will automate that process and save you valuable time while ensuring those users in the workflow never miss an important email over a duration as long as you set them to be in the workflow.
Finalsite Forms is a powerful online form creation and management tool with a wide range of new tools, features, and options that makes it easier than ever to create, edit, and share online forms with your school community and new inquiries, saving time along the way.
With powerful new features like Workflows integration coming soon, Finalsite Forms is the online forms tool to build beautiful, powerful, mobile-friendly online forms for your school community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.