Sometimes things that are seemingly self explanatory are much more complex than we realize (like building Ikea furniture). But complex doesn’t have to be negative. By its name alone, web forms seem pretty clear, but their full power and functionality goes beyond their name alone. We’ll be taking a closer look at Web Forms, what they are, how they work, and how they can be utilized in your organization.
Defining Web Forms
The technical definition of web forms is an online page that allows for user input. It is an interactive page that mimics a paper document, where users fill out particular fields. Rather than handwriting information and coloring in or checking off boxes, the same data can be input by typing and clicking. Web forms can be created in modern browsers using HTML and related web-oriented languages and can replicate paper forms. For organizations that don’t have a dedicated web developer to create such forms, PiF offers a web form building solution through frevvo.
Depending on the application, web forms can contain elements such as checkboxes, submission buttons, text boxes, radio buttons, and other details to enhance the functionality of the form. The beauty of web forms is that they can be customized to be as simple or as complex as you want.
Examples of this could be something like an email subscription form on a blog or in more advanced applications, an entire onboarding packet for new hires with pre-filled fields.
How do they work?
Users of the web form don’t see the pieces that comprise it, they only see the fields that they need to complete. The steps of the form process are as follows:
- A visitor visits a web page that contains a form.
- The web browser displays the HTML form.
- The visitor fills in the form and submits
- The browser sends the submitted form data to the web server
- A form processor script running on the web server processes the form data
- A response page is sent back to the browser.
For example, let’s take a look at this process in the context of a sales order form. You would send your customer the URL of the form with the necessary fields. The customer would complete the form and once they hit submit the data automatically goes into your enterprise resource planning software, enterprise content management software, customer relationship management software, or wherever you need the data to go in order to process the order.
By having this process completed via a web form as opposed to a paper form or fillable PDF you can complete the sales order process quicker and with less effort. With a web form, an administrator or salesperson does not have to double enter data from the sales order form into the appropriate line of business systems. Additionally, the sales order upon customer signature is sent immediately to the appropriate systems reducing order times, ensuring accurate items are ordered, etc.
You can sit with a customer with a tablet and complete fields such as part numbers, quantities, descriptions, pricing. Once you’ve completed the order form, you can simply hand them the tablet (or smartphone or laptop) for the customer to sign electronically. There’s no need to print out the form, have the customer physically sign and then scan the order back in, to now have to double data enter all the data into the line of business system
Web forms don’t apply to just one specific process either, essentially any form that previously existed on paper can be transformed into a web form.
Where to use Web Forms
Web forms can be applied to any business process and department. The great thing about web forms is that their functionality isn’t just limited to the form completion itself, an effective web forms solution can easily be integrated with other software you already use to further streamline your processes as well.
- Employee onboarding
- I-9 & W-4
- Direct Deposit
- Benefits Elections
- Background Checks
- Time Off Requests
- Expense Reports
- Purchase Orders
- Proof of Delivery
- Patient/Client Onboarding
- Incident Reports
- And more!
How to implement them
The value of web forms may be clear to your organization, but how can you implement them? If you don’t have dedicated staff and resources for internal development projects, it can be nearly impossible to create your own system that is effective (and compliant). Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. PiF Technologies has implemented countless custom web form projects utilizing a software called frevvo. The software provides a framework that PiF can then completely customize to fit your exact needs.
If you’re ready to implement web forms, schedule a demo with us. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process and show exactly how web forms can benefit your organization.