Mailforms Revamped

Following hot on the heels of recent improvement to the Homebuild blog and gallery, we are happy to announce the release of improved mailform pages. Mailform pages are also known as contact pages; they're the pages which allow your visitors to get in touch with you.

Before describing the new features we've introduced, a word of reassurance: despite the overhaul, all existing mailform pages will continue to work, although with the newly available types of fields it's probably worth revisiting them and using the new email, website or telephone fields for those types of data.

So, what's new?

Secondary Content

Many modern sites include alternative means of getting in touch alongside a contact form. Now Homebuild does, too. You can easily add your addresses, telephone numbers, even an interactive Google Map to your mailform pages and they'll appear beside your form.

Sections

Long forms can now be divided up into sections. This makes it easier for visitors to understand your form by giving context to the fields rather than just displaying one long list. Just log into your in your tools pages, add some section breaks, choose the "blocks" format, and each section will get wrapped in its own block.

Wizards

Even more powerful than sections are wizards. Here each section is placed on a separate page. Seeing only a section at a time prevents visitors being overwhelmed. And once they have filled in the initial section, they are more likely to proceed through all the steps to complete your form. Again, creating a wizard is as simple as adding section breaks to a form and choosing the "wizard" format".

Wizards even auto-create a graphical header showing which step the user is currently on, although this can be switched to a simple message such as "2 of 6" if you prefer.

Widgets

All the fields on Homebuild mailforms are now interactive widgets. This means they can do things normal web form fields cannot. For example, many of them now check what has been entered and won't let the form be submitted until it's correct. This saves visitors from waiting for the page to reload exactly the same form when they make a mistake. Moreover, many will even give popup hints as the user types.

Widgets can also do cool things like changing names so the first letter is in upper case or popping up a calendar when a date field is clicked upon.

All in all, we've increased the number of field types from 6 to 19. Here's the full list:

  • text
  • password
  • number
  • email
  • web address
  • telephone
  • currency
  • textarea
  • checkbox group
  • simple dropdown
  • combobox dropdown
  • radio
  • radio grid
  • date
  • time
  • slider
  • star rating
  • upload
  • captcha

Some of these should be obvious (email, web address, telephone, currency), while others will be familiar from the previous mailforms (although even they have been widgetized).

A few may need more introduction:

Combobox Dropdown

A dropdown where users can also type, narrowing the results shown as they type each letter. Very useful for long lists.

Radio Grid

Used for questionnaires, this field allows you to pose a series of questions, each with the same set of answers (often ratings such as Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Don't Care, Agree & Strongly Agree).

Slider

Users move a graphical slider along a bar containing options. This unusual field can break up the monotony of long forms, and suggest that the options are related to one another along a scale.

Star Rating

A very intuitive field. Users click to choose from one to five stars.


Captcha

Used to prevent spam. Visitors must type the word displayed in an image before the form can be submitted. Captcha stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".


Textarea

This field has been supercharged compared to the original. It now allows you to control the height and allow users to format the text they type, for a Word-like experience.


Validation

We have made it easier to control what happens when your visitors submission is rejected. All fields now allow you enter a custom error message. And the titles above fields change colour when submission fails, making it easier to tell where the errors lie.

Security

All form data is now cleaned before being added to emails. This keeps your computer and website safe and helps reduce spam.

Fade In

Forms now fade into view when the page has loaded, providing visual impact and focussing their attention.

Stored Submissions

Want to see every response you've had to a form or to analyse the data? Now you can download an Excel spreadsheet of all your responses

Improved Tools Pages

Your tools pages now give you more information about your mailform pages, submissions and fields without having to click right through to the forms. We've even added an animated chart of recent submissions at the top of the page so you can see how your mailforms compare to one another.

As always with Homebuild, we have tried to make the new mailforms easy to use, so please feel free to explore them in your tools pages, and soup up your site with beautiful, dynamic, widgetized mailforms. And if you have any ideas for improvements, please get in touch.

Posted 4:52 PM | Permalink


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