Noupe Magazine | The Magazine for Webworkers and Site Owners
I know, your pulse doesn’t start racing with excitement.
Forms get a bad rep.
Love or hate them, from registration to collecting payments, forms are here to stay. Forms equal input, they mean collecting data from anyone who interacts with your business.
A form is successful when it engages rather than frustrates your user, and if it provides you with the data you need.
A form consists of different parts. And building a form that does what it needs to do relies on rules, principles, logic — and a bit of play.
Here are some ways to structure online forms that actually convert.
Forms look simple. A few fields, a bit of text, a couple of buttons. Is there really much more to it than that?
A successful form feels simple for the user. But behind the apparent simplicity lies a spectrum of decision-making, tweaking, careful wording and thoughtful strategy.
All these are necessary to create a form that garners the useful data you need. Without them, forms won’t yield what you need.
Like a Lego construction, a good form relies on architecture. That means strong foundations, the right kind of structure and attention to detail.
There are five essential rules to keep in mind when you build a form.
1. Start with questions, bottom up
As in a Lego game, the organization of your form needs to be informed by questions. It’s questions that build a form from the ground up.
That makes listing questions a good place to start.
I always encourage our users to start by writing down all the questions that come to mind when thinking about what a form needs to achieve.
Make them proper questions, with a question mark at the end. Give yourself time to do this. You may want to ask colleagues to join you and add their questions.
2. Remove any questions you don’t need
Removing the unnecessary questions is essential because you need the cooperation of your users — the people who will be taking the time to fill out the form.
What are the chances of these people having a long time to spare on something they don’t see the point of? None.
So don’t offend your users by wasting their time. Cut with an eye for what you really need to know. Then rephrase each of these questions as succinctly as possible, without losing an inch of clarity.
Every time your user gets confused, doesn’t understand a question or doesn’t know what’s expected of them, the risk of them giving up increases dramatically.
Every additional question will affect a form’s conversion rate, and a user’s likelihood to complete it. If you don’t need it, don’t ask for it.
3. Organize questions into groups
Once you have trimmed and streamlined your list of questions, divide them into groups and subgroups where necessary.
Organizing questions in groups will help create logic and flow, which will support your user in progressing through the form. It will also make questions more digestible, and lower the overall cognitive load.
Some other affordances of grouping questions:
A large form can be divided into multiple sections.
Grouped questions can be skipped by setting a single Skip logic condition
A set of questions can be repeated for every unit, such as members of a household
A set of questions can be displayed together on the same screen during data entry
You can mark the ‘theme’ of each group (i.e. what holds the questions together) with a short, informative header at the top of each section (e.g. contact details — personal details — work experience). This lets the user quickly scan the form to see what type of information they will need to provide.
All this will lead to groups of succinct, thought-through, clear questions. Some of these groups will be bigger, some small. You may have some orphan questions. All good.
4. Sequence your questions skilfully
Even if you have more than one question per page, your user will have to answer them one at the time.
Every section in the form should nudge users to the next one. That means you need to order groups, and questions within groups, in a sequence that is logical and makes sense.
So ‘Who are you?’ will come before ‘ Where do you live?’ which will, in turn, come before ‘What’s your work experience?’
On a payment form, you would start by taking details, follow with shipping information, and finish by asking for payment. If you asked users to pay first, they would be far less likely to do so.
Sometimes, questions will need to be asked in a specific sequence because they don’t make sense out of context.
As a general rule of thumb, try and stagger questions from easy to hard. This helps users move through questions more quickly and motivates them to continue.
Remember to be ruthless when it comes to eliminating unnecessary questions. You can always ask optional questions after a form is completed — chances of getting a higher response rate this way is always likely to be better.
For example, questions like “How did you first hear about us?” or “Would you like additional information about our services?” feel less invasive when presented as an optional follow-up question.
Each of your questions is half of a whole. The other half is provided by your users. You can see the way you build your form as the blueprint for a conversation, or a dance.
The key thing to keep in mind is that there’s someone else you need to engage with, and who needs to engage with you. That’s what’s going to drive your decisions on how to order the questions on your form.
5. Create movement in your form
Your next, and final, rule follows from this: there needs to be movement in your form.
Each bit needs to prepare your user for the next one. In essence, it needs to become a story that you co-write with your users.
The way you construct and order your form needs to have some kind of narration woven within it — and that narration will be an important part of what makes your reader hanging.
Who is going to be your conversant who will co-create the form with you? That’s the question to keep in mind as you build the form. Forms are not just about mindless data — they are about people with minds.
Key components of a form
A form has one overarching goal — to get the recipient to completion. Part of guiding them down this path is explaining
what type of form they are filling out and
what they can accomplish by filling it.
Realistically, few people will take the time to read a detailed description of a form’s purpose, so you need to capture it concisely. That’s why the title is so important.
Make your form title is absorbing, informative and apt. Don’t waste words; get to the point. You want your reader to remember the purpose of the form as they continue to fill it out.
A good form doesn’t start abruptly: it will have a welcome page. It won’t end abruptly either: it will finish with an expression of thanks. Make sure you don’t skip these two parts.
Some forms require more effort than others. For instance, some will ask the user to check external bits of paperwork (e.g. passports). Some will take a substantial amount of time to complete.
Don’t spring this upon your user halfway — this will annoy and demotivate them. In the case of a more elaborate or more demanding form, give a brief, upfront description of what they can expect right at the start.
Some more technical stuff
Types of Input FieldsSelecting the right divider
Choosing the right type of divider for your form is essential. Depending on a form’s length, this could be very minimal.
Our new product, JotForm Cards, presents each question separately. But in the case of traditional forms, placing dividers in (to visually break sections up) reduces overwhelm.
Communicating distinctions between groups don’t require much visual difference. In fact, too much contrast can distract people and stop them from being able to scan the form. The focus should always be on a form’s content rather than its presentation.
As information design expert Edward Tufte points out:
“Information consists of differences that make a difference.”
Basically, any visual element that isn’t actively signifying something makes it worse.
Multi-page or single page?
Is it better to group each topic on a single page or divide them across a series of pages? How many pages should there be? The answer is… it depends.
Some types of forms work better with multiple sections on one page and others work better with various pages, depending on length and content, and the users’ mental model.
When distinct topics are short enough to fit into a few sections, a single page will probably work best. When each section begins to run long, multiple pages may be required to break up the conversation.
When we released Card Forms, the JotForm Data Team conducted research about conversion rate (Form View/ Successful submission rate) of our new cards. The study showed that even in short forms (up to 7–8 fields), asking questions in a single page provided a better conversion rate.
Because of this set-up, we also added a summary page and a progress bar. This displays how many questions there are remaining and how many have been completed, motivating users and encouraging them to finish the form with the endowed progress effect.
Distinguish between primary and secondary actions
Grouping questions also have the advantage of distinguishing between primary and secondary actions. Primary and secondary actions let users complete forms without any issues.
A primary example encourages you to complete the form. A secondary action takes you back when necessary. The most common example of primary and secondary actions is moving forward or backward.
But there are also use cases for secondary actions such as Save for later, preview, export and reset.
Advantages of using input groups and flexible inputs
Finally, there is the question of flexible input vs. form validation.
Form validation = required field, for example, someone’s name.
These should always be visible. However, when an input is flexible, it can be useful to offer the option of collapsing the field to minimize overwhelm.
Carefully consider the right input field for the type of answer you’re looking for. Could it be yes or no? A predefined selection?
Whenever possible, give affordances to help people answer questions quickly. Having predefined answers or yes/no questions will also help you collect and analyze data more easily.
You can always add an ‘other’ section if necessary.
Equally, remember to indicate which fields are optional and which aren’t. The (*) symbol is well-understood to mean ‘required’.
Associate required or optional indicators with input labels to demonstrate which questions need to be answered. The (*) symbol is well-understood to mean ‘required’.
Yes, forms exist to gather data — but they do so through a collaborative process between you and your users. Skillful form building is not a mechanical process: it involves reflecting on what you are trying to achieve, and what’s the best way to achieve it.
That means, amongst other things, thinking about which data type will be most useful to answer the questions at hand. Focused forms are most likely to yield actionable results.
Building an effective form is a creative process, but forms are no place to get fancy. Keep it as simple, short and focused as possible. Good luck.
Let’s say you receive a form submission and want the information you just collected displayed on a single PDF document. Easy enough. Just copy the information, open a new word processing document, paste the information, and then save the whole thing as a PDF.
But what if you wanted to turn 100 form submissions into their own separate PDFs? That would require some serious legwork, not to mention it’s tedious.
JotForm PDF Editor - YouTube
That’s why we’re proud to introduce JotForm PDF Editor, a new way to automate polished, designed documents that you can share, download, or print with the click of a button.
Responses you receive through your online forms are instantly and automatically turned into elegantly-designed PDFs. No copying and pasting required.
How does this help you? Imagine you manage a restaurant and you’re using a JotForm job application form to hire new kitchen staff. You can send out an online application form like you always have. But when the responses come back, they are converted into beautiful PDFs that you can instantly forward along to colleagues, send back to the applicant, or keep for your own files.
It’s the same information you’ve always collected, only now the final document is far superior.
Below are a few standout features of JotForm PDF Editor.
The beauty of PDF Editor is the ability to design your PDF however you’d like, including the ability to add sections, custom colors, and numerous fonts. You can even include images and your company logo. It requires very little effort and even less skill; just click and drag sections and text along a handy grid. You also have full control over how you’d like your response information to appear on the document, which can be displayed in landscape or portrait orientation.
Designing a PDF with PDF Editor is a cinch, but if you wanted a jump start we have more than 100 snazzy PDF templates you can choose from. There’s one for just about any reason you’d need a professional PDF, including medical consent, supply requests, event registrations, and agreements. Best part? They’re free!
A single online form can generate thousands of custom different PDFs — a new one created every time someone responds to your form. This level of automation is uncommon in the world of PDFs. Online forms are easier for your clients and colleagues to fill out, so you get more responses. And the work of turning the information into polished PDFs is automatically done for you.
Are your PDFs to be read by a chosen few? Then password protection is your best friend. In our layout settings, just select “Enable Password Protection” and then type your new password. Only those people with the password will be able to access your document.
JotForm PDF Editor makes distributing your new PDFs incredibly easy, boosting communication between colleagues and clients. When you’re in preview mode, you can toggle between the PDF submissions you receive and then download, print, or share in a single click at the top of the screen. The share option prompts an email draft with the attached PDF that you can immediately send.
JotForm’s hallmark Fillable PDF Creator is now included as a feature in PDF Editor. Quickly build a PDF form with fillable fields that sends response information directly to your JotForm inbox. Now this feature is updated to make your fillable PDFs more customizable and attractive. To use this feature, make sure you and your respondents use Adobe Acrobat Reader when filling it out.
You’ve always been able to collect e-signatures using JotForm. But now you can automatically have collected signatures stamped on new PDFs whenever someone submits your online form. Given how easy it is to fill out a JotForm form — even on mobile devices — your clients can sign agreements from wherever they are without hassle. No printing, scanning, or headaches necessary. Then you can return a signed agreement to them with a single click.
JotForm PDF Editor integrates seamlessly with Google Sheets, DropBox, and Box so that the PDFs generated from your form responses automatically send to cloud storage systems your team depends on.
PDF Editor can change the way your organization creates documentation for contracts, agreements, waivers, intake, quality control, incident reporting, evaluations, and a lot more.
Have you already giving JotForm PDF Editor a try? How are you using it? Let us know in the comments below!
Do you have an image file must be converted into a PDF file for, let’s say, a report due soon, or an important email that a vendor, customer, or employer wants? Not sure where to go for help?
We’ve got you covered!
After a little digging, we found some of the best and, more importantly, free websites out there that can turn images into PDF files seamlessly, regardless of whether you’re using a macOS or Windows operating system. The websites that we’ve found can create PDF files without compromising the quality of the original images.
Before we begin, we should mention that it’s possible to convert images into PDF files without the use of the third-party software programs that we’ll outline below. To do this, scroll down on this page to a section titled, “Convert an Image to a PDF Without Any Software in Two Steps.”
We do, however, suggest that you use one of the three programs that we’ve found. Thanks to additional features offered by the third-party software programs, you can merge, combine, split, and extract your PDF or images. These handy tools also have a drag-and-drop feature and support almost all formats, including JPG (JPEG), TIFF (TIF), BMP, PNG, and GIF files.
Running into problems with creating or editing PDF files? Our comprehensive PDF editing guide probably can help you with that.
With this website, you can combine multiple images into a single PDF file easily. There’s no file size limit for images that you want to upload, convert, and download; however, you can only upload up to 20 images at a time. The website optimizes your images automatically once it is downloaded. As an added bonus, Jpg2pdf doesn’t leave a watermark on your images.
The website is easy to use, thanks to its drag-and-drop features:
1. To get started, open the jpg2pdf web page, and click on the “JPG to PDF” tab.
2. Select images from file folders or your desktop, and drop it into a rectangular box with a prompt that reads, “Drop Your Files Here.” Clicking “Upload Files” will allow you to select images manually from your desktop or file folders; these chosen images will appear automatically in the “Drop Your Files Here” box.
3. If you want to select more than one image, press the “Command” button on Mac, or “CTRL” button on Windows, and click on the images that you want to upload.
4. Click “Download” on each image in the upload field to generate your PDF file. To combine multiple images into one PDF file, click the “Combined” button below the image upload box; your PDF file should download automatically.
iLovePDF is very popular web-based PDF editor. Users can create an account and buy a premium plan, at $4.99 a month, to take advantage of additional image extraction services and downloads, but you still can use the free version of iLovePDF to convert a JPG file to a PDF. You also can use this tool to convert Microsoft Word documents — those with .doc or .docx extensions — into a PDF file.
1. First, go to the iLovePDF home page and select “JPG to PDF” from the list of available options.
2. Select images that you would like to upload from your desktop or file folders, drag it to the iLovePDF web page, and drop it when a “Drop files here!” prompt appears; the upload process should begin automatically. You also can select images to upload manually from your desktop or file folders by clicking the “Select JPG images” option.
3. If you want to select more than one image to upload, press the “Command” key on your Mac keyboard, or “CTRL” key on your Windows keyboard, and select on each image.
4. Once your images are uploaded, you can change the image orientation (portrait or landscape) and margins (no margin or with margin).
5. To complete the upload process, click on the “Convert to PDF” button at the bottom of the web page. Your PDF files should be converted and downloaded automatically. If not, click “Download PDF” to obtain your PDF files.
JPG to PDF has two versions tailored specifically for Mac and Windows operating systems. Although you must download the software program to access any features, conversions happen more quickly than other web-based image conversion programs because it is not contingent on access or connection to the internet. Here’s the catch, though: converted images have a watermark on it. To resolve this issue, you must pay $35 a month to register for upgraded program features.
1. To start off, download the program and open it. Select photos from your desktop or file folders to upload, drag the images to the open JPG to PDF Converter program screen on your computer, and drop it onto the “Drop Your Images Here” area.
2. You also can select the “Add” button at the top left-hand side of the screen to select images from your desktop or file folders.
3. Once you’ve uploaded your images, click on “Convert Now!” at the bottom right-hand side of the JPG to PDF Converter program screen.
Another free image converter program is SmallPDF, which allows users to convert PDFs to any format, including Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt) and Excel (.xls or .xlsx) files.
1. On the SmallPDF home page, the select “JPG to PDF” from the list of available options.
2. Upload the files that you want to convert by selecting images in your file folders or on your desktop, dragging it to the rectangular “Drop images here” box, and dropping the files into the marked area. You also may select files to upload manually by clicking the “Choose file” option in the “Drop images here” box and choosing images from your desktop or file folders.
3. After uploading your files, click on the “Create PDF Now!” button at the bottom right-hand side of the rectangular box.
4. Click “Download File” to get your converted PDF files.
With dozens of options available on its website, PDFCandy might as well be a PDF candy store. OK, that may be a little corny, but you get the idea. There are many opportunities to make the most of your PDF files with this software tool, but we’ll just focus on converting image files (namely those with .jpg extensions) to a PDF.
1. On the PDFCandy home page, select “JPG to PDF” from the list of available options.
2. Click on “Add file(s)” to select images on your desktop or in your file folders for PDF conversion. You also can select images from your desktop or file folders, drag it to the “Add file(s)” box, and drop it there to upload.
3. After uploading your files, click “Convert” to start the PDF conversion process.
4. Once your image file has been converted to a PDF, click “Download file” to view and save it on your computer.
Did any of these software tools help you, or know of any others that helped you in the past? Let us know in the comments below!
Ever read through a document and found an image that you wanted to download and use (with permission, of course)? Were you vexed after realizing that the document was a PDF file and thinking that there may be no way to get the image you want?
We know your pain, and we’re here to help.
We found a few websites that could help you on your next search and, in some cases, cost you nothing at all. Need some help with creating or editing PDF files? We’ve got you covered with our handy PDF editing guide.
Much like PDFaid.com, this website allows you to extract images from PDFs, as well as convert files with varying formats into PDFs. Image extraction services are free for the first five downloads. Users must create an account and buy a premium plan, at $4.99 a month, for additional image extraction services and downloads.
1. First, select the “PDF to JPG” menu option on the website’s homepage.
2. Choose a PDF file for image extraction by clicking on “Select PDF file.” You also may drag an image from your desktop or folders and drop it onto the web page.
3. Once you’ve chosen a PDF file, select the “Extract Images” option that appears in a new web page before clicking on the “Convert To JPG” button at the bottom of the screen.
4. To complete the process, click “Download JPG images” to transfer the image files onto your computer.
This free, no-frills website allows you to extract images from PDF files, as well as convert images into PDF files. With this tool, PDF files can be converted to any image format, including those with GIF, TIFF, and JPEG extensions. You also can extract images from any PDF and download it using either JPEG or TIFF file extensions.
1. Click “PDF Extract Tool” on the PDF-online.com homepage.
2. In the new web page that appears, click on “Choose File” in the top box to select a PDF file for image extraction and then click the “load PDF” button to the right of the box.
3. In the middle box, select the “images” tab and choose the file format for the image that you’d like to extract.
4. After making your selections, click “Apply..” button on the right hand side of the middle box.
5. Images extracted from the PDF file will appear in the bottom box for you to download individually. Start the download process automatically by clicking on the images.
With dozens of different options available on its homepage, this free website is a one-stop shop for PDF files. Name a task that you’d like to complete, and there’s a good chance that PDFCandy can make it happen, whether it’s adding a watermark to a PDF or converting a PDF to an RTF (rich text format) file.
1. Select “Extract images” from the list of options available on the homepage.
2. In the next web page that appears, click on the “+ Add file(s)” button to upload a PDF file for image extraction. You also may drag an image from your desktop or a folder and drop it onto the web page to start the upload process.
3. The extraction process should begin automatically and be complete within a minute or two.
4. Once the extraction process is done, click “Download file” to access your extracted image.
If you tried any of these tools and found it to be useful, please let us know in the comments!
Productivity is in our DNA at JotForm. Our own product is a widely-used productivity tool for organizations to simplify their data collection and save time by reducing back-and-forth emails. I personally use JotForm for fielding case study requests, partnership inquiries, to survey colleagues internally as well as users, and to collect job applications.
So we’ve developed an eye for other helpful productivity tools to help us manage our workflow. And luckily, there are some terrific resources out there to boost your team’s productivity and focus that we use all the time.
Amazing Tools We Use To Be More Productive
Here are just a few of the favorites of the JotForm Marketing team.
Here's How JotForm's Marketing Team Stays Productive - YouTube
Zapier has come to the rescue many times for Team JotForm. It’s a service that connects the internet’s most popular business apps, including JotForm. It’s effectively a way to automate the process of sending JotForm form submission data to over 1,000 other services, like your email marketing software, CRM, task management tools, calendar, and a lot more.
JotForm produces monthly webinars, and why we love Zapier is because it spares us from having to copy and paste the information we receive and enter it into an attendee list.
I hate the hiring process. Not the part where we actually bring on new team members–I love that aspect–but the process of scheduling interviews is torture to me. I’m talking about the endless emails, the calls, the schedule changes, the no-shows, the rejections. It’s a huge time-suck, and it takes a very different headspace to do than my regular job responsibilities.
So I’m a fan of any tool that makes the nitty gritty of hiring easier. For me that’s Calendly.
Calendly is an app that syncs with your calendar and lets whomever you’re inviting to a meeting to select the time that works best for them based on your availability.
Instead of sending a million back-and-forth emails to job candidates to see what times work for them, I send them all the same Calendly link and let them fill my calendar up themselves.
To really do social media right, you have to be strategic.
At JotForm, we share a lot of content, whether it’s tips and advice from our own blog or Medium channels, or outside publications that talk about JotForm. It’s not uncommon for us to have more than a dozen original pieces to share, which makes it important for us to schedule our posts ahead of time.
Using Buffer, we can spend an hour scheduling multiple posts to go out at later dates instead of having to remind ourselves to constantly log back into our JotForm social accounts and create a new post.
It’s also great because once posts are scheduled in the Buffer queue, it’s easy for team members to login and review social posts before they go live.
Our whole company uses Asana for different reasons. I personally love them because I can sit down with everyone on my team and schedule, assign, label, and describe new projects in a calendar view. For anyone who works better when their projects are laid out a little more visually, this is perfect.
And when you complete a project that’s on your Asana calendar, it puts a bright green check mark next to it–so satisfying!
You also get email notifications as deadlines approach, which we’ve found super handy as well.
The JotForm team is globally dispersed, with our main offices in San Francisco and Turkey. We also have a network of remote employees in nearly every time zone on Earth. Email is still our primary mode of communication, but sometimes you need to ping someone immediately or send a quick link–and that’s where Slack is so helpful.
Slack enables me to have back-and-forth conversations with developers, designers, and supporters a lot faster than I could using email, thus saving me valuable time.
When we’ve had major product announcements that require assigning projects to multiple people on the team, Trello has been an enormous help.
For instance, before JotForm announced JotForm Cards this past February, we needed a way to coordinate our advertising, PR, blog content, social media posts, design requests, launch event details, product video, marketing emails, collateral and swag, partnerships, and influencer outreach. Yikes.
But Trello gave us a way to centralize all of our projects. Tasks are added as cards that you can assign to members of your team, label accordingly, and indicate completion status along a kanban board. And what’s even better is that Trello has zero learning curve.
If left to my own devices, my email inbox is cluttered, embarrassing, and even counterproductive. Sortd has helped with all of that.
It’s sort of like Trello in that it offers a digital kanban board for your tasks, only it’s all in your inbox. Now when I arrive to work in the morning, I sort through all of my emails to see if anyone has asked me to complete a task, then I simply mark the request in the “to-do” column in Sortd. When I start working on the task I move the card over to “in progress” and when it’s finished I slide it over to “completed.”
Most of what’s asked of me still comes via email, so it’s been incredibly helpful for me to manage my important projects.
Do you use any of the productivity tools listed above? Does JotForm boost your productivity? Let us know in the comments!