How will you build and manage the form?
Before thinking about what the form will look like, we recommend deciding on the technology that will support the form itself. There are basically three main ways to deal with electronic forms: You can code from scratch, you can use a lightweight plug-in or forms app, or you can use a more robust electronic forms solution. Each of these approaches has pros and cons and is more or less suitable for different forms requirements.
If the form requirements are one-off, temporary, or part of a closed system, and you have the necessary technical expertise, then coding the form directly on a web page may be an acceptable approach. This has the advantage of ultimate control over your form since you are coding everything, but more often than not, the disadvantages of this approach far outweigh its benefits, leading most to choose one of the other two options below. However, if this approach suits you, you can move on to designing the form.
In the case of simple forms that exclusively support websites, such as contact forms, service requests, etc., using a WordPress plug-in or lightweight forms app can be a fast and cost-effective way to go about deploying them. The key to determining if this is a good approach is to ensure that your form is simple and can be supported with a lightweight app. If so, this approach is acceptable; however, give due consideration here because if your use case falls into a more complex category, you will be better off going with a more robust forms solution.
An irony we often see is that when a business user has a complex use case, they are often pushed towards coding from scratch, assuming that this will provide the most control over functionality. While this may be true, it’s also true that hard-coded forms take much longer to build and, once deployed, are much more difficult to change.
Robust electronic forms platforms exist to support the widest possible range of use cases possible, from simple to very complex ones. These solutions are business-focused and offer the ability to design, deploy, and manage any form needed along with its associated data validation, workflows, and other features. These solutions also provide advanced functionality, such as the ability to collect attachments, process payments, interact with other organizational systems, collect digital signatures, and task and escalation management, all from a single platform that can be centrally managed and controlled. Forms deployed using these tools can also be easily modified later and republished without having to touch the code or website. Because of all the benefits, dedicated forms platforms are quickly becoming the de facto choice for most forms use cases in today’s organizations.