The Engage Forms tool has all kinds of great features to enrich your form and get the data you need. The following features exist on organization forms, administrative forms, event forms, and additional fields.
As a general rule, if you are changing any part of your current form, we recommend first approving/denying all pending submissions and inactivating the form before making changes. We also recommend saving an export of your current form submissions before making edits. This ensures your changes do not have consequences on any students currently going through the process.
1) Make sure you are putting your form in the best place
There are all sorts of places to store forms in Engage! Here are some of our best practices for deciding the best place for your form:
- Does your form have to do with the events process at all? In this case, it's always best to work your form into your event additional fields or branch event custom fields so that users do not have to find and complete multiple forms. You can even use display logic so that only certain event submitters will see your questions.
- Does your form have to do with the organization registration process? These forms can be linked together in the registration tool so long as they are either administrative forms or organization forms within the branch that hosts the registration process you are working on.
- Consider the audience of this form. If it is most relevant to individuals within a certain organization, place it in that organization's page so that members of that organization will see the form higher in their Forms Directory. If it is relevant to many students, place it in your administrative branch's forms so that it appears towards the top of the Forms directory for all students involved in an organization under that branch. If it is one of your most important forms, an administrator can feature any organization, branch, or administrative form to ensure it is at the top of the Forms Directory for all students.
Organization and Branch forms have slightly different functionality available from Administrative forms, which may also help you decide where to place your form:
|Function||Organization & Branch Forms||Administrative Forms|
|Discoverability||Can be found on the Organization/Branch page in addition to the Forms Directory and by direct link
||Can only be found in the Forms Directory (with higher ranking than Organization & Branch forms) and by direct link
|Submission restrictions||Optionally restrict the form to only be visible to and submitted by organization members, or even more directly to only specific positions within the organization
||Optionally restrict the form to only be visible and submitted to by Primary Contacts of specified organization types
|Skip/Conditional Logic||Add conditions to when a page of a form appears based on the user's responses to previous questions in the form.
||Add conditions to when a page of a form appears based on the user's responses to previous questions in the form.|
|Reviewing features||Add reviewers who are notified of submissions with the opportunity to comment on a submission.||
Reviewers can "vote" on a submission with a thumbs up/thumbs down and optionally add comments without actual ability to approve the form. In addition to "Reviewers," you can also add notified parties who are notified of each submission but not needed to review submissions
Optionally enable "Reviewer Workflow" which will provide reviewers access to the form in sequential order
|Form response visibility||Anyone with Forms:View access to the organization or branch and Reviewers of the form will be able to see submissions
Anyone with Forms:View access at the community level and Reviewers of this form will be able to see submissions
A user will only need Forms:Full access at the organization/branch level to approve forms of this type
|A user will need to have Forms:Full access at the community level to approve forms of this type
|Form editing||A user will need Forms:Full access at the organization/branch level to modify the form||A user will need Forms:Full access at the community level to modify the form|
2) Pick the right question types
Engage has 8 different basic form question types to choose between. Different question types are ideal for getting different kind of answers. For example, sometimes a user might create a check box question when they really wanted a radio button question. This mistake can lead to some incorrect submissions to the from where a user may have accidentally or purposefully selected multiple answers to a question that really only should have had one answer.
Read on for ideas on which question type is best for you:
|Check Box List||A multiple choice question that allows users to choose more than one option. Use this question type only if you want the user to select all choices that apply.
|Radio Button List||A multiple choice question that allows users to choose only one option and displays all available options. Use this question type if you want the user to choose between discrete options, such as a "yes" or "no" question.
|Text Field||An open-ended question with a text box for a user to supply their own answer. You can determine how much space is available for the user to use when writing their answer.
|Drop Down List||
A multiple choice question that allows users to choose only one option and displays options in a drop down list. Use this question type if you want the user to choose between discrete options. Answer choices do not appear until the user clicks on the drop down.
|Instructions||An instructions box that stands out from the rest of the form and does not include any space for the user to respond. Use this box to supply the user with important information they should read in the context of filling out your form that you want to stand out on a bright blue background from the rest of the form.
|Single Check Box||A single check box a user can check off before proceeding in the form. Use this question type to have a user agree to a statement or indicate they have read something.
|Ranking||A multiple choice list that allows users to numerically rank choices within the list.
|File Upload||A file upload prompt that allows users to upload any kind of file. If you prefer a specific file type, make sure to indicate this within the instructions portion of the question.
3) Help users identify the kind of open-ended answer you are looking for with your text field size
If you are using a Text Field question in your form, you have the ability to determine exactly how big of a field users have to enter their answer in by identifying the number of columns and rows for the text space. A small space indicates to the user that their answer can be brief, while a larger space indicates to the user that their answer should be more elaborate.
In the example above, the questions have the same number of columns (width) but the second question has more rows (length or height). This tells the user that their answer to "Contact Campus Email" can be very brief, but that they should provide additional, detail to "What materials do you plan to have at your table?"
4) Leverage Patterns to restrict open-ended answers to give you a consistent data format
It's often easiest to look at phone numbers, emails, states, and other common types of qualitative responses if they are in a consistent format. When you edit a Text Field question, you can add a "Pattern" to the question to restrict users' answers to follow a standard format. Available pattern restrictions include:
- State (US)
- Zip Code (US)
- Phone (US)
- E-mail address
- Decimal Number
- Integer Range 1-150
- Time of Day
- Whole Number
- Postal Code (Canada)
- URL (web address)
For example, we can restrict the "Contact Campus Email" question above so that users can only enter text following the format of ______@____.__ in their response. If a user tries to enter other text in this field, they will receive an error asking them to enter a valid email address before proceeding to the next page.
5) Determine which questions are genuinely required
It's important to require answers to certain questions that you need answers to in order to process a submission, but sometimes not every question needs to be required, and requiring every question can actually make a form more lengthy and cumbersome for a student to submit, leading to less responses. Use your best judgment to determine when an answer is just helpful versus actually necessary and use the "required" question option thoughtfully.
6) Use skip logic to ensure users see only the questions they need to answer
When drafting your form, it's also helpful to see if there are entire sets of questions a user may not need to answer depending on their answers to other questions in the form. In this case, take advantage of skip logic to make your form shorter and easier for students to complete.
Simply put the set of questions on an additional page and determine a question (or multiple questions) on the preceding pages to determine for which users the page should appear. Once you have the new page, click "Page Properties" in the top right followed by "Conditions" to add logic to your form. You can even group different conditions together to create more complicated form display logic.
With these tips in mind, your form is sure to be successful! As always, if you're not sure exactly the best place to put your form or you'd like some additional tips on building it, your consultant is available for advice on best practices and more.