Forms System Guidelines & Instruction
Warrington forms utilize WordPress and Gravity Forms. Though Gravity Forms has been risk assessed for open data at the University, there are responsibilities with collecting data. Please review this important information along with instructions, guidelines and tips below.
Editors in the forms system are able to perform many tasks including, but not limited to:
- editing forms and pages
- viewing, exporting, editing and deleting collected data
- setting up confirmation pages and email notifications
- scheduling forms to open and close on specific dates and times
Editors in our forms system, must be both a current employee of the college and have a valid FERPA status. After you request access to forms, you will only be given access to the sub-site(s) required for your needs. This reduces the risk of accidentally editing another department’s form and/or viewing data that is not collected by your department. After each semester, editors who are no longer employed by the college are removed.
Data Responsibilities id="data"
To reduce the extent of risk, only collect the data you need. For example, if you do not need to know an address or phone number, don’t ask for them. Less data collected is less to be protected and also a quicker, easier form to fill out. If you are asking for UFID or other restricted data, the form must be behind a GatorLink login (explained in the Getting Started section). Please review UFIT’s Data Classification Guidelines.
Each time a form is submitted, a data entry is created. We ask that these entries be cleared out periodically. This will help protect the data and conserve our server space. If you download the data, keep FERPA guidelines in mind and follow UF’s guide for safe data storage (Protecting UF: Security Information Training). You can delete entries when it makes sense for your processes:
- If the form has a deadline, clearing out the entries after the form closes would ensure it has a fresh start when it opens again.
- Or, if your form is open year-round, set a reminder either semesterly or yearly at most.
- We now have an entry automation feature which will help us export the entries, including the file uploads which was never possible before. This feature will also help us delete the entries after the export. We are in the process of setting this up on our forms.
If you no longer need a form and it will not be used again, delete the form along with the page it is embedded on. Any entries will be deleted along with it.
Pages & Forms id="basics"
“Pages” in WordPress are webpages. They have a URL/web address that you can share, link to, etc.
“Forms” are embedded in pages. The form by itself does not have a publicly shareable URL.
For every form created, a page will also need to be created to embed the form on. Forms and pages should be named identically so it is easy to find the pairings.
As the forms site is dedicated to collecting information and not for building robust web pages, we ask that you do not add content to pages other than the embedded form.
Please reuse forms and pages when it makes sense instead of creating new ones each time the application, registration, etc. is needed. This will save time, space and possibly broken links.
Getting Started id="getting-started"
If you do not see the option to add new forms and pages, please contact us to create the form and page for you.
Step 1: Create the Form
- Click on Forms in the left-hand menu.
- Then click the Add New button.
- Type in your form title. Unless the form is going to be a one-time use and then deleted, we ask that you do not use dated info, like the year, in the title of the form and page. A form description is unnecessary and will not display on the page.
- Click the Create Form button.
Step 2: Create the Page and Embed the Form
- Right-click Pages in the left-hand menu and open in a new tab. This will allow you to refresh and view your changes in one browser tab while editing the form in another.
- Click the Add New button.
- Fill in the same title you used for the form. This title will be reflected in the web address of the page.
- Click the Add Form button.
- Select the form from the drop-down list. Leave “Display form title” and “Display form description” checked. Unchecking “Display form description” will prevent the legend from showing up, which indicates that items with an asterisk on the form are required.
- Now click the Insert Form button.
Building the Form id="building"
For a general overview of the fields available and some of their settings, review the sections below.
- Single Line Text: for short, typed-in answers.
- Paragraph Text: for longer, typed in answers, such as “briefly explain” or essay-type questions.
- Drop Down: best used for more than five pre-determined answers where the user is to choose one answer. Please see additional information regarding Drop Downs at the bottom of this section.
- Numbers: these fields require a numerical input and can be used in calculations. Test this to make sure the number can be entered in the format you need.
- Checkboxes: best used for five or less pre-determined answers where you want to allow the user to choose more than one answer.
- Radio Buttons: best used for five or less pre-determined answers where you want to allow the user to choose only one answer.
- Hidden: this field can hold pre-filled data populated by a query string in a link to the form, or other means. The user will not see this field, but it will be part of the data collected in their entry.
- HTML: this is used to add additional information or instruction on the form when a field description is not appropriate. HTML markup is allowed in this field, but it does not collect any information from the user. Use this field carefully as a malformed or unclosed html tag could break the formatting and functionality of your form. If you include a link to a web address in this field, include target=”_blank” in the anchor tag so that it will open in a new tab for the user instead of taking them away from the form.
- Section: this can help divide the content of the form if such a visual divider is desired.
- Page: will add a Previous and Next button so you can group fields into pages. The headings and other settings for the pages can be edited by clicking on “Start Paging” at the top of the form (after a page has been added).
- Name: a set of fields preset to collect the individual parts of a person’s name. First and last are default, but you can also add prefix, middle, and suffix.
- Date: allows a few different ways to collect a specific date. However, the datepicker option is not accessible for users who rely on the keyboard or screen reader. It is recommended to select a different input type to improve the accessibility of your form.
- Time: preset to collect the hour, minute, and am/pm.
- Phone: collects the data in a phone number format. You can choose the default format or international.
- Address: preset to collect street addresses, cities, states, zip codes, etc. as International, United States or Canadian address types.
- Website: requires a URL/web address.
- Email: requires a valid email format. Checking “enable email confirmation” helps ensure a correct email address by requiring the user to enter it twice and it checks that the two addresses match.
- File Upload: allows files to be uploaded. File types allowed should be added in the settings. Set the maximum document size to 1MB and maximum image size to 2MB.
- CAPTCHA: allows you to set a qualifier to make sure you are not a robot. Note that this can be an accessibility roadblock for some users. We recommend not using this.
- List: allows one or more single line or drop down fields in a set and the user may add more sets as needed.
- Multiselect: a drop-down type interface, but allows more than one item to be selected.
- Consent: a way to include terms and conditions in a scrollable section with a checkbox.
Once added to the form, you can click on each field and adjust its settings. The General, Appearance, Advanced and Conditional Logic sections expand the way the Standard and Advanced Fields did when adding fields to your form.
As you build the form, click the Save Form button at the top and then refresh your page in the other browser tab to see how it looks and behaves.
Even though you’ve built your form, there are still a few more things to do. Read on to learn about your form’s settings, confirmations and notifications.
Form Settings id="settings"
Save and Continue
The Save and Continue feature can be turned on for forms that might take the user a long time to fill out.
In this section you can enable a limit on how many entries can be submitted.
You can also automatically open and close the form on specific dates and times if you check Schedule Form. The “Pending” message is what will show before a form opens. The “Expired” message is what will show after a form closes. This is an excellent way to control access to the form while providing information about when the form will open or that the deadline has passed.
Leave “Require user to be logged in” unchecked as this does not work with our GatorLink setup.
Contrary to what you may think, in Gravity Forms a confirmation is the message displayed on the screen after the form is submitted. It is not an email. This message should be succinct and not contain any important information as the web page will likely be closed by the user shortly after seeing it. Save important information and details for a notification email.
Go to the Settings menu again and choose Confirmations.
This is where you set up the emails that are sent when the form is submitted. Go to the Settings menu again and choose Notifications.
Many also choose to add a “confirmation” email notification which goes to the form submitter letting them know that the form submission has been received and includes any other details, as needed. You can add a notification by clicking the Add New button in the upper right corner.
Updating & Linking id="updating"
To find your form again for editing:
- Click on Forms in the menu on the left.
- A list of forms will show up. Find your form, hover over it, and click Edit.
To get a URL/web address for linking and sharing:
- Click on Pages in the menu on the left.
- A list of pages will show up. Find your page, hover over it, and click View.
- Copy the web address out of the browser’s address bar.
Exporting Entries id="exporting-entries"
When exporting your entries, remember FERPA guidelines and UF’s guide for safe data storage. To export the entries, click in Import/Export in the menu on the left.
- If you’ve saved your page as a “Draft” or set it to “Private”, remember to make it “Public” when the form is ready.
- If you will be using a form again, you have a few options for taking it offline temporarily:
- Preferred method: You can schedule the form to close using the form settings. Users going to it can get a custom message you set up.
- You can make the form “Inactive” by flipping the switch next to it in the list of forms. Users going to it will get a blank page.
- Pages will still show up in the list on the Warrington forms system home page even if the form is inactive or closed. If you wish to take the page out of the list, set it to “Private” or “Draft”. Users going to it will get a broken link error.
- Please do not create new forms and/or pages for each reoccurring event. Reuse the previous forms and pages instead, when possible.
- Clear out your entries periodically.
- Protect the data!
- If you have questions or trouble, please email the college webmaster.