Utilizing forms with complex logic in your business is one of the most effective ways to create structure and initiate growth. While competitors are still using spreadsheets along with pen and paper, forms can be the starting point for workflows and systems that drive your business forward.
In their most basic sense, forms can be used to collect contact information, gather feedback, or facilitate customer service and support. Forms can also help with event planning, onboarding new employees, or managing work schedules for teams of almost any size.
Forms and Logic
To better understand how all of this can happen, and the role forms play in the process, it is important to understand the role of logic in the process. When it comes to forms, what is logic? Logic is the act of determining what action happens as a result of an action that happened previously. For example, a form might ask an individual planning to attend an event, “Will you be coming to the banquet? Yes/No”. If the individual answers “yes” the next question presented by the form might be a list of dietary or entrée preferences. If the individual answers “no,” the form would not show those options, making for a more streamlined or tailored experience.
Most forms can be separated into two form types: dynamic and static. Dynamic forms include logic, with subsequent questions and prompts being determined by what information was input beforehand. Static forms do not contain logic but rather include a preset and unchanging set of questions and prompts. Static forms can be quite powerful as they collect necessary information in a way where multiple user submissions can be collated and compared without confusion. However, for the purposes of this post, we will be digging into the role of complex logic in forms and how that logic can help drive your business forward.
What is complex form logic?
Complexity boils down to a rather simple concept: “if this, then that.” If you are unfamiliar with the expression, then you should know that there is nothing complex or tricky about it. As the sentence above says, complex logic is the flow of things happening if something else happens. If a user enters this then that happens. If a user enters something else, then something else happens. Pretty straightforward.
Complex logic extends to sending the resulting answers, or data, to different places based on what has been input. For example, if a person submits a message in a contact form and chooses “sales” from a dropdown categorizing the message contents, then the message would go to the sales department. If the user chooses “support” from a dropdown categorizing the message, then it would be forwarded to the support department.
Complex logic is not just about sending information to different places. It can also be about retrieving information from different sources. So in the example above, if the user submits a message to the sales department, then the resulting message displayed to them might be something like “Thank you for your message. It looks like you are already using one of our services. Have you considered this additional service which might help you even further?” If the user submits their message to the support department, the resulting message might pull data from the support queue to let the customer know approximately how long it will take to receive a response.
Examples of complex logic in forms
Some more useful examples of complex logic include using things like time and location to determine the flow of questions, prompts, and responses. For example, a form can help provide pricing discounts or special offers for people that fill out the form at a certain time. From preregistering for a product or service to the actual buying process, logic in a form can show different prices to different people based on time or location.
Furthermore, logic in forms can do things like offer different options to different types of people. Imagine a conference at a university where different pricing exists for students and teachers, different meal choices exist for vegetarians or those with dietary restrictions, and different textbooks and workplans exist for different levels of education. Forms, combined with some savvy logic, can address the needs and preferences of each attendee. Even better, these workflows reduce the burden on back-office and administrative personnel while also reducing the incidence of error in gathering data and planning.
What can complex logic in forms help do?
When used correctly, logic in forms delivers greater efficiency and effectiveness, creating workflows and structure for the business. Data collection and collation become repeatable and scalable, greatly reducing the burden previously carried by team members tasked with making sense of all the data coming their way.
However, it is important to remember that as with any tool, forms and logic are only useful when implemented correctly. Even a single misstep in your logic map can send the whole form spiraling in the wrong direction. As such, it is important to have a plan for not just the output you want from your forms, but also how the user’s journey will happen along the way.
Best Practices for Getting the Most Out of Forms
When using forms to create workflows and improve both customer and company experiences, there are a few best practices to follow. First, do not introduce complexity or logic just for the sake of doing so. Each form and resulting workflow should have a meaningful and – crucially – demonstrable positive impact. All too often a new technology or tool is implemented quickly without careful consideration. Forms are powerful tools and logic expands their potential greatly, but they shouldn’t be used for no reason at all.
Second, before implementing any form it is important to take note of other departments and workflows that will be impacted. Very few aspects of a business happen in a vacuum and for all of the positive impact forms can and should create, make sure you’ve confirmed that gains made in one department do not create friction or difficulty in another.
How We Can Help with Your Form Needs
When it comes to the web, businesses and individuals too often confuse complexity with difficulty. Forms and logic do not have to feel impossible, even for those that are not technically savvy. The best way to leverage complex logic to improve processes and establish structure is to find a partner to help make what seems complex more simple.
Our team at Bet Hannon Business Websites specializes in helping businesses grow through the use of technology. Our experience with forms, including rich expertise with Gravity Forms and WordPress, has helped hundreds of businesses get the greatest return on their digital investments. We would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your business goals and discuss if logic and forms can help propel you forward. Contact us here to learn more about how our team can help.