Back in 1597, a fellow named Sir Francis Bacon saddled us with a sentiment that has more than held up over the hundreds of years that followed its first publication: “Knowledge is power”. We don’t need big news about Big Data to know that from the one-man-shop to the global corporation, access to information is at the core of every successful enterprise—from gathering feedback and onboarding new employees to accepting payments for products and services. The only question is: what is the most effective way to collect all this information?
Lucky for us, tools and processes supporting information collection are a lot more efficient and a lot more affordable now than they were back in the 1500s; we have web forms. Within seconds, people are able to tell you things, pay for things, sign up for things and suggest things, all from a desk at work or on a smartphone while taking the bus. Where the most innovation is needed now is in making the experience of creating those forms and managing the information they collect just as simple as the end-user’s experience with the submission. And that’s where an industry pioneer like JotForm comes in, especially with their latest product version, JotForm 4.0.
A History of Good Form
JotForm has been in this game for a while—you could even say they sort of helped make the rules too. Out of San Francisco, the company launched back in 2006 and came on the scene as the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) form editor; no code, no complications, just dragging and dropping, some minimal typing and a lot of flexibility for customization. Obviously, that’s not where it ended. What would a company that specializes in data capture be if they didn’t make a habit of constantly collecting feedback from the market to understand what people need from a top-tier form-builder?
For almost two years now, JotForm has been running hundreds of usability tests, enhancing its architecture and feature set, and optimizing its interfaces to bring another game-changer to the market. This week, as of February 1st, we’re finally able to get our hands on all the hard work, and whatever you may think of web forms, you have to admit it’s pretty sexy stuff.
Create Forms Anywhere, Anytime
As much as we love us our internet connections and our smartphones, the reality is that we’re not always connected, and despite what companies will tell you about their mobile-friendly interfaces, not enough of them have implemented truly mobile-effective editing experiences. Sometimes, you’re just going to have to work without an internet connection, and sometimes, you need to get things done before you can get to a laptop. With their 4.0 release, JotForm is making it very clear that they understand and appreciate the not-so-edge-case nature of these working realities.
Front and center to the newly enhanced JotForm product is the idea of “anywhere” and “anytime”; they have redesigned their editing interfaces to be the first online form builder that is compatible with literally all mobile devices, be it your slick Samsung or your addictive iPad. Regardless of your screen size, all of the JotForm functionality is available, and it doesn’t disappear on you just because you lose your WiFi.
JotForm 4.0 allows users to make updates to their online forms even when they’re offline; the system is continually auto-saving changes (and even storing a thorough, easily accessible revision history) that sync up to everything in the background once they’re back online. That’s huge. Whether you’re adding fields, updating conditions, or touching up your Thank You page, you never need to worry about losing your work, no matter what hardware you’re using.
Another big enhancement coming with JotForm 4.0 is the ability to actually collaborate with several people on the same form. No, not like send-them-a-link-to-review-something-track-changes-and-then-update-later kind of collaboration. Multiple users can be live-editing the same form at the same time, all users can see the updated form versions as they are being generated, and all changes are immediately saved and accessible through the revision history.
Accepting Payments & Other Integrations
Here’s another reality of web-based business these days: if people have to jump around to different interfaces to get their work done, or to get their data in the place in which they actually need it, something is bound to be broken. In the best case, what’s broken is a could-have-been seamless experience; in the worst case, however, what’s broken can range from inaccurate information to a full-blown abandonment of a critical business transaction, like signing a document or making a payment.
JotForm offers over one hundred out-of-the-box integrations to handle almost any form submission and data management use case. Need to create or update a Contact record in your CRM system? JotForm has an integration with Salesforce.com. Need to immediately share feedback with an entire team? JotForm can immediately push all submitted form data to a shared Google spreadsheet, or to a folder in Dropbox. Need to let someone pay for something, or drop a signature on something for approval? JotForm has built-in integrations with payment processors like PayPal, Stripe and Square, and even offers the seamless addition of DocuSign and Adobe eSignature capabilities to your forms.
Getting Started Immediately
What you’ll also notice with JotForm 4.0 is the payoff of all those hours of usability testing and gathering user feedback. From a smoother drag and drop experience and better preview functionality all the way to the ease of adding page breaks and quick access to assistive wizards for sharing, embedding and integration options—their goal was to kill training, and they certainly didn’t pull any punches. Without as much as a demo, users are able to jump in and have a design-customized, functional form within minutes.
Part of the ease of adoption is certainly in their pricing model; users can actually use the platform for free. JotForm offers a Starter tier that supports up to 5 different forms, 100MB of storage space and an unlimited number of fields per form. Going up one level to their Bronze package will only set you back $19 per month, but lands you a ton of additional flexibility, like 25 different forms and support for an unlimited number of submissions. Their Gold package gets you literally everything and that’s still under $100 per month.
That’s a lot of love for not a lot of time and money. Probably no coincidence that it’s all just in time for Valentine’s Day.
This article has been sponsored by JotForm. Thank you for supporting the brands and products that support SnapMunk!