Hey, great job making that form the other day with Adobe FormsCentral . I bet when you tested it out you were really excited to see it in action. Wait, what? You haven’t tested it yet? Well, hop to it! And while we’re at it, I have a few extra tips for you when you’re ready to distribute the final product.
Remember Monday, when we talked about how each form you make is entirely under your control? That refers not only to the look and feel of the form (the text formatting, the color of the page, even the layout!), but also—to an extent—to the experience your form respondents will have with the form. When you’re done creating and formatting your form and you’re ready to send it out to make its way in the world, don’t go straight to the “Distribute” tab; use the “Test” tab first. By choosing to test your form before opening it up to responses, you’ll be giving yourself the chance to go through your form and fill it out exactly as your respondents will; your experience and theirs will be identical.
Looking up at the four tabs across the top of the page, click on “Test”. This will bring you to the launch pad for (as one might guess) testing your form:
When you choose “Test Form”, a new window will open to display your form as your respondents will see it: in a browser window, divided into the pages you specified in your design:
You’ll be able to hit “Submit” at the very end, which will let you see what the responses will look like in the response table once they start flooding in.
Well, that’s what the test process looks like, everyone—super easy, isn’t it? Now that we’re satisfied that the form filling experience is a good one, let’s carry on and see what’s waiting for us in the Distribute tab.
“Distribute” is the tab to go to when you have any changes to make to a form’s availability and the messaging you’ve got for when a form has been submitted or when it’s closed. In the image below, there are a few points of interest; here are the fun details:
A. You Are Here. Even when you’re not in the Distribute tab, you can check to see whether your form is opened or closed by looking for the open or closed circle in this tab.
B. Over in the View Responses tab, we can see that there’s 1 new response; this is the response that we submitted when we were testing the form. We’ll cover responses in the next post; the cool thing here is just that you’re getting constant updates whenever a new response comes in, even if you’re not haunting the responses table.
C. Your form’s URL. This is the link to share with friends, coworkers, subjects, pets, and others who should fill out your new form; all they need to do is navigate to this URL and they’ll be able to submit a response (which will then automatically be fed into your response table). From your Distribute tab, you can grab this link and email it to someone, put it in your Facebook status, tweet it from your Twitter handle, or publish* it on your website.**
D. The form’s state can be one of two things: Open or Closed. It can’t be both; it can’t be neither. If the form is open, you can share the link with people to collect their responses; if the form is closed, the link will send people to a page with your “Closed Message”, not the form (see E, below).
E. Your closed message is…well, it’s what people will see when they try to access a closed form through the form’s URL. If you’ve closed the form for specific reasons, you can say so here (“The form is closed for maintenance. For information, please email me at ____.”).
F. And now, finally, is the confirmation message—the final page that will be seen by your form-filler-outers. The default is a simple “Thank you” message, but you’re free to add any information you feel is necessary for those who have just completed your form. For example, if you’ve got a prize for anyone who submits the form, here’s where you can put a coupon code or secret password; the message won’t be visible until the form has been submitted successfully.
*As of today, the form will be accessible to anyone who has this link, so do be sure that you’re making it available only to those whom you want to fill in your form. If that doesn’t include anyone outside of your immediate workgroup, you might want to put the link in an email, and not put it on Facebook, where anyone can get to it.
**Also good to note: you can publish the link on your website, not the form itself. Embedding forms isn’t a feature of FormsCentral quite yet, but it’s on the way! You’ll hear it here first!
One more quick mention of the Form State category: if a form is Open (that is, available to be filled out and submitted by those who visit the form’s URL), no piece of that form will be editable. If you have changes to make to your form, you’ll have to close it before you can make those edits; if you try editing an open form you get the error message below.
Once you’ve finally made all of your edits and customized your messaging, you’re ready to open the form and begin accepting responses from the public. In our next post, we’ll discuss just what to do when those response start populating in your View Responses tab. There’s just so much to say about the response table; data nerds and new users alike will be thrilled at FormsCentral’s tools. Stay tuned!
If you want to take the sample form in these screen shots for a test drive, go ahead and try it! The form is live at: https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=bgsvEg5ye3*jBGqYuYXqQw