You can generate online surveys, RSVPs, inquires, and other contact forms very easily nowadays. Many of these online forms can be built or added very quickly with user-friendly tools such as our own dreamersi.com
. Here are some basics you should know before you construct your forms:
What happens to the data?
The data collected via online forms can be sent to you via email, or saved on a server to download later, or both. Depending on the program you use to create your online form, the location where the file is saved may be different so be aware of this and find out exactly where and how the information is saved.
What kind of format choices do we have?
You have seen the different types of forms before, they might include a comment box, a radio button, a pulldown list, checkboxes, etc. I am going to cover each of these choices more in depth in my next blog post so stay tuned. The rule of thumb is to make sure forms are easy for people to fill out so they don’t abandon them, but it’s also important to make the answers consistent and objective so you can analyze the data effectively.
Should we use encryption technology (SSL)?
SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer,” and it is an encryption technology used to encrypt the data from the browser to be sent to the server. You will see the lock on your browser when there is an SSL on a webpage. You will also see it in URL - instead of http:// you will see https:// in the address. SSL secures your online transactions but only for the communication between the client and the server. Whether to use SSL or not all depends on how sensitive the data is that you are collecting through the forms. More about SSL and security concerns will be in another blog post next week.
You can always consult with your web developers about the risks and benefits of creating an online form so you can make the right decision for your website.