Our Journey to Make Better Forms

Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Forms are a necessary part of everyday life. Whether it’s the online application form of club membership, an order form to buy plants for our beautiful garden, or a sign-in sheet at the doctor’s office, forms are everywhere. But is there any way to make them better?

Some argue that the best way to improve forms is to eliminate them altogether. While this may sound like a radical idea, it does have some merit. Forms are often long and tedious or unattractive and oversimplified.

So, we decided to find a solution without ditching forms altogether.

Finding a match.

Form builder that only lets you add simple question such as text input and yes and no radio buttons—we’ve seen it.

Online form that forces us to answer one question at a time—we’ve experienced it.

We’ve looked around for form builders and found them either:
  • oversimplified with limited functionality,
  • clunky to use,
  • or too inflexible that failed many requirements.
So, we embark on our own journey to create a form builder, starting with what the users really want from an online form—not how we want the form to look or behave.

Innovate without reinventing the wheel.

Where did our journey start?

There are millions of paper forms out there in office drawers and shelves and soft-copy forms as PDF files in Dropbox, network mapped directories, local drives, or even company website as downloads.

Those forms have something in common, tables!

Table for employment history in job application form, siblings details in student enrollment form, order items in order form, trips and their cost in mileage reimbursement forms, and data inputs represented as a table in countless of other types of forms.

How do we calculate amount in those forms? We tediously calculate it and enter the amount! And did we say we sometimes found the amount was not tally?

There are online forms that can do simple calculation but are not flexible. Why don’t we use SUM of fields’ amounts instead of this field plus that field plus another field and so on?

So, we build table and spreadsheet into our form builder. No more quirky operations such as using many pluses to add amount in several fields. Convert those fields into table cells and use SUM. It’s that simple!

Trying to average some numbers on the form? Technically possible using math formula for average: . Unless I’m good at math, using AVERAGE function is so much easier.

Zapof Forms tackles the challenges of data manipulation on the form using Excel compatible functions. So we don’t need to re-learn what is the widely popular way of working with numbers, text and logical. Other input fields can use formula to calculate their values, the formula is not just for table cells. Formulas in Zapof Forms work seamlessly on input fields and table cells. We have removed the traditional separation of forms and spreadsheets. 

We have brought our forms platform to the next level of functionality and we aim it to be the next generation of forms platform.

Enough said. We need some actions.

Let’s have a little of fun. Try to rate the services in the table on this form:

It uses formulas:


to show the average star rating at the last cell of the rating column and 

IF (OR (SUM (B1:B4)=0, ABS (B1)=0, ABS (B2)=0, ABS (B3)=0, ABS (B4)=0), "", IF (ABS (B5) <= 3, "We’ll do our best next time", "You have just made our day! 😃") ) 

to show different text responses on the last cell of the first column, based on the average rating value. 

The conditional logic:
OR (SUM (B1:B4)=0, ABS (B1)=0, ABS (B2)=0, ABS (B3)=0, ABS (B4)=0)

shows empty text when any of the rating cell goes unanswered.

The conditional logic: 

ABS (B5) <= 3 

shows "We’ll do our best next time" when the average rating is 3 and below, otherwise the cell shows "You have just made our day! 😃".

Note: ABS is an absolute function that converts unanswered value or nothing to 0.

Opening up doors to the whole new possibilities

How about conditional logic, or some call it conditional follow-up questions? We are out of luck with paper forms and PDF forms. But, we are beyond paper forms and PDF forms, so let’s discuss conditional logic for online forms. Few online form builders can do conditional logic—us included. But we think we are ahead with our conditional logic functionality on our forms. Guess what? We also use our built-in functions to evaluate the formula for the conditional logic.

To make a question or web element conditional, we only need to add a formula that evaluates to 1 or 0. If the formula returns 1, the question or web element is presented.

Because our spreadsheet built-in nature in our forms platform, the formula sees all input values on the form, such as values of the choice drop-down, ratings, text and numeric inputs, table cells, and many other types of questions. Let’s try asking the user to choose favorite food—in a not so boring way:

The form asks the user to choose either dessert or fruit as the favorite food, and it shows the type of dessert or fruit choice question according to which food the user chooses. It evaluates further what type of dessert or fruit the user selects and shows different comment accordingly.

Let’s keep it short by not showing the formula here, but you get the idea of how to make forms fun to fill in.

Is that all?

Our users often asked us if they can upload files on the table because the table such as employment history in job application form asks the candidate to upload employer reference to each past employment. So, besides numeric, currency, text, date and time, we expand the capability of our table to support file and image upload, and other data types such as checkbox, yes/no, birthday, star and face rating, and rich text.

We never tire of improving our forms and we continue adding features and making our forms better. We have added 48 types of question and web element, responsive layout such as multi-tab form and multi-column containers, and made accepting payment and offering voucher so much easier.

We are so excited that it’s so much fun and easy to create forms that all of us love to use!

So, go ahead and sign up to create your first form that works for you and your users.

Created with Zapof