September 21, 2014

Gathering Customer Information Via Web Forms With Adobe FormsCentral

Creating a website form should be a fairly simple task, but it eludes most of us. We get started, then stop, mostly because I think we’re afraid of all the spam that will follow. Spam will follow, too. Spammers build robots to mess with the forms, even with captcha technology in use. So, if you are a small business owner trying to sort out adding a form to your website, this Adobe FormsCentral review is for you.

First, it bears repeating that this web form technology is from Adobe. The brand alone conveys trust and strength, to me, after many years of serving customers with desktop software.

The three areas that really caught my attention:

  • Integrated with PayPal so that you can set up payments and donations when people complete a form.
  • Skip Logic — this technology lets you skip pages or fields based on how a person answers a previous question. It is a cool thing when you’re the customer and you want to get through a form as quickly as possible. We want to make the customer happy, right?
  • You can add a variety of survey scales from radio button choices to drop down menu selection to the fancy Likert scale (you know the one where you pick “Strongly Agree” through “Strongly Disagree”). All customizable, of course.

You can do most of the shiny, new things that Web-based forms allow today, such as, embed it in a Web page or share it on various social networks. In my test account, there were plenty of templates to choose from and an easy drag and drop interface. I found it interesting that I could “share” my form with colleagues or employees to let them work on the form creation, too. Unexpected, but potentially useful.

Things I’d like to see:

  • More tutorial popup help boxes. The whole form creation process is powerful, but you don’t realize how to use all the different settings. For example, the Skip Logic function, if you’ve never done it, takes a little bit of thought and some prompts or a tutorial that comes up when you click that option would be helpful. But, like many of my “like to see” comments, it just isn’t in a place where I want it when I want it.

It takes a while to realize how many choices or options you have to customize each part of the form. Adobe has made it incredibly rich with granular, detailed options not only to make your form “pretty” but useful. The FormsCentral technology lets you gather and organize the data in ways that will make the report building that comes after the survey. Come to think of it, they made that elegant, too. As you create the form, a report structure is generated at the same time. As responses come in, they populate a report like the one you see below. I thought I would have to create my own using tools they provide, but no, they do it for you.

You can run one form for free, then paid plans start at $14.99/month, but the next plan is only $16.58 ($199/year billed annually) for unlimited forms.

Learn more about Adobe FormsCentral.

2 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services - share yours with TJ.

2 Reactions

  1. Great commendation, TJ. The skip logic feature in particular would shave a lot of frustration off, I would think.

  2. Hi TJ, Thanks for this review. I’ve been looking for a Web input form to use on a special project and wasn’t even aware of Adobe’s FormsCentral.

    One of the places where many form builders (such as Google forms) are weak is in the output of results — I want to be able to publish the results online and have them instantly available in a user-friendly formatted output. Most surveys are designed to gather information and compile it for private use. It seems like Adobe allows you to embed results in a Web page, too, and I like that.

    – Anita

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