WufooI’ve been meaning to write about this product for some time now but haven’t had the chance to really take a good look at it until a couple weeks ago. It’s is called, Wufoo, and its goal is to allow anyone to effortlessly create forms of any kind. Honestly, my first impression was, “Here we go. Another form creation tool.” I was wrong. I’ve been testing it for a couple weeks now and found just how useful it really is. You can create surveys, contact forms, bug trackers, registration forms, and so on. Once your form has been created, you can receive email notifications, create reports that list and graph submissions, view statistics, theme your form, and even mail your form to groups of people. Let’s take a look.

Building a Form

To get started, let’s jump right in and create a form. Login to Wufoo, which will direct you to the form manager, and select, “Build a New Form.” You will now see a page similar to the above screenshot that shows a list of field types on the left and an open form canvas on the right. First off, I have to say the form builder is quite impressive. It is well made to the point that anyone can use it. The interface is beautifully crafted including simple drag and drop functionality, help indicators, and a multi-panel design keeping the workspace minimal and uncluttered. Clicking a field type from the left adds the field to your form with default values. Selecting the newly created field will switch you to the second panel where you set options for that field, such as the title and validation. Keep doing the same thing for all the fields you would like in your form, save, and you’ve got yourself a basic form.

Creating Themes for Forms

You’ve created your form. Now what? Theme it! Wufoo has a nice theme builder that lets you customize a large portion of your forms appearance. You can modify colors, typography, borders, and even the logo and header at the top of your form. I’ve managed to create a theme that looks pretty similar to Solution Watch for a form I’m planning on using that includes my sites header, background, and site colors. It came out well and I was surprised how easy it was to make. However, there were some things here and there that I would have liked to customize, such as: bolding headings, changing the width of the form, linking the top logo to my site, and other small things. But for the most part, the theme building gets the job done well and I am very happy with the outcome of my form. Once your theme is complete, save it and assign it to your form in the Form Manager.

Using the Form

Assuming that you have created a form and themed it, you are now ready to actually use it. You have multiple ways to use and share your form. The first is by using the forms direct address which can be found in the Form Manager by selecting, “View.” For example, here is a link to a form that I have created for Solution Watch: Submit a Solution (feel free to use it). Secondly, you can grab code for your form to add it directly to your website. To do this, head to the Form Manager and select, “Code.”

You have three options when it comes to adding a forms code to your website. The first method, “Integrated Form Code,” provides you with a small snippet of HTML that will add an iframe to your website spanning the height and width of your form. This method makes it so when including the form in your website, only the form will be shown, excluding the header and logo of its original theme. The second method, “Full Page Form Code,” does basically the same thing as the first option, but this time displays the entire form and theme including the heading and logo. Lastly, the “XHTML/CSS Code Only” option provides you with all of the XHTML and CSS for your form. This option is for advanced users where you get the entire code for your form and you have to connect it to your own script rather then Wufoo processing the submitted data. This is great for programmers who dislike creating their own forms and just want to simply use the form builder, get the forms structure, and add it to whatever they are working on.

Form Manager

The Form Manager is the first page you will see when logging in. As the site says, the form manager is “the headquarters for all of your form building activites.” It lists all the forms you have created and allows you to easily manage and view statistics for each. All on this one page you can get a quick count of new entries, retrieve addresses for your forms, set themes, send invites for others to fill out a form, get form code, view entries, and more. This page is also where you view your forms statistics, which I will be describing in more detail later in the review.

Managing Entries

After you have sent out your form and retrieved new entries, head over to the entries section of a form (this is the “entries” button under each form in the Form Manager). As you have probably guessed, the entries section allows you to view and manage all submitted entries to your form as well as add new entries to your form. Wufoo has designed it so entries are viewed the same way the are submitted, through the form. Select an entry on the right and its contents will fill up the form on the left. You will also see a new area on the right under the list of entries called, Comments. Clicking this section will bring up a comment form that allows you to add your thoughts on the entry you are viewing. I’m not sure why it asks for your name because Wufoo is a single user product, but non the less, it’s a helpful feature if you have a use for it. Another section on the right that you may notice is Map Locations. You will only see this area if you have an address field type in your form and that is because if an address has been entered, Wufoo will actually plot the location on a Yahoo powered map for you – a neat little extra.

Statistics and Reports

Wufoo also provides its users with basic statistics and reports for each form. The statistics can be found in the Form Manager by clicking the button, “Statistics.” A container will slide down that lets you select a form and view bar graphs showing the number of submissions daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. These statistics can help you see trends in submissions and track your growth. Also, according to Pronet Advertising, Wufoo plans to provide ratios on how many people see your form to how many fill it out.

One of the features that makes Wufoo so powerful is reporting. Wufoo allows you to create multiple reports for each form that you create. You can make a simple report that lists of all entries, only showing the fields you want. Or create a report that displays only records matching specific terms in fields. Or even build reports with visuals like bar graphs and pie charts, perfect for online polls and surveys. It’s a pretty flexible system. You can even make your reports public to share with others, again, perfect for polls. Also, for those of you that want to backup your entries, you can download reports in Excel and CSV format.

My Form: Submit Solution

Now that you know Wufoo’s capabilities, let me share with you my form that I plan to use for Solution Watch. As of now, Solution Watch has a section, Submit Solution, that allows visitors and companies to submit products that they would like me to look over and possibly review. It’s a simple contact form that I whipped up quickly, and it does gets the job done, but not as well as I would like. Being it is just a contact form, I get all submissions sent directly to my inbox, as well as spam (oh joy). It then becomes more troublesome then anything because submissions get mixed up in my personal mail and sometimes I miss submissions due to spam filters. So, guess what? I’ve created a new form using Wufoo: Submit Solution.

What are the benefits of using Wufoo for my submission form? First, I can easily manage the form adding fields and styling when needed. Secondly, it is a hosted form, meaning all submissions will be stored in my Wufoo account and sent to me by email. Through the form manager I can get a quick count of new submissions, view statistics, subscribe to an RSS feed of submission, and so on. Browsing to the entries page for the form will also allow me to look through each submission and modifying the contents when needed. Still in the entries page, I can add comments to each submission and view the location of a startup using the Yahoo Maps tool when an address is filled in. Heading over to the reports section allows me to view a report I created that lists all submissions with only the fields that I wanted to be shown (take a look at the above report screenshot for an example). If I wanted to, I can perform some pretty informative reports. For example, I could add a field to my form asking what range of funding they have received, if any. I then would be able to create a report with a pie chart showing the percentages of companies having certain amounts of funding. Cool, huh? As you can see, using Wufoo for my submission form will only do me good and hopefully my form illustrates more possibilities to you.

Overall, out of all the form builders I’ve used, Wufoo is by far the best. You’ve got simple form creation, entry storage, themes, statistics, reports, and more. Wufoo also has 5 different plans ranging from free to $199/month. Is it worth the money? Definitely. The free plan may even be all you need, and if not, the second plan up is only $9/month for 10 forms at 500 entries/month. There are minor things here and there that I feel could be improved on, such as email notifications and form customization, but for the most part I am happy with the service. I will be setting my Submit Solution form to my site shortly and have other uses planned for my company. If you have a Wufoo form, feel free to showcase it in the comments as I would love to see it.


16 Comments on “Wufoo – Effortless Form Creation”

  1. Chris Campbell says:

    Great writeup, Brian. Glad to see you enjoy the product and we’d love to hear your thoughts on how it could be improved.

    To answer your question about the name field for comments, it’s useful when multiple users log into a form or application. For example, we have a main account for Wufoo bugs and there are three of us looking at the bugs and making comments for the others to see. We’ll probably also add multiple user accounts in the future.

  2. Dennis says:

    Great review Ben! I have seen Wufoo around but hadnt given it much energy. Looks cool.

  3. kid mercury says:

    My experience was virtually identical to yours; when I first heard of Wufoo, I stifled a yawn at the thought of yet another form solution. But this is really well done. I’ve got a couple of Wufoo forms on my site — here’s one: http://www.actoguitar.com/articles/4080-signup-form-get-channel.html — and plan on adding a few more.

  4. Stephen Munday says:

    How does Wufoo compare to http://www.zohocreator.com/?

  5. Ben Dyer says:

    Wow, I like this.

    Taking something as dull as forms as a start point and turning into a brilliant product deserves some credit.

    Just signing up for the $9 account so lets see how we get on with it.

    Ben

  6. Christian Watson says:

    I looked at Wufoo too but ultimately decided to go with FormSpring.

    The major downside to Wufoo (as far as I can tell) is that you can’t make select boxes, radio buttons or check boxes required. Why? I have no idea.

  7. dave says:

    sure, here’s one JUST FOR YOU!!

    solutionwatch wufoo survey:
    http://davidc.wufoo.com/forms/people-who-read-solutionwatch-survey/

  8. Christian Watson says:

    Stephen – Zohocreator is great except that it creates pretty horrible code. Lots of table cells and even spacer gifs. Wufoo and FormSpring create nice clean, semantic XHTML.

  9. Ryan Campbell says:

    Christian,

    You can make select boxes and radio fields required in Wufoo. For select boxes, just do not provide an empty option and the user is forced to pick one. For radio buttons, click the star to make a default selection. By providing a default, the user will have to select one radio because there is no way to unselect from a radio group. As far as checkboxes go — yes we should, and will, have that functionality.

  10. Janet says:

    I couldn’t get into your Venture Nine blog to comment so hope you don’t mine me commenting here. I’d like to thank you for the newest security fix. I was panicking when I heard about hackers going around using the tagboard as the ‘hole’ into the server.

    Wufoo sounds interesting. Might want to check that out later when I have some time. I’m all up for anything that makes life easier :D

  11. alex says:

    There’s a new site up,
    that simplifies the form building in a much easier and faster way
    http://www.formlogix.com

  12. Peter says:

    There is another online forms builder out there called The Blue Form.
    It has features an AJAX style form builder as well as the ability to assign approval workflows to the forms.
    This makes it more of an online process automation / eforms workflow site rather than just a form builder.
    It could be used in most office type environments to automate paper based processed. We are currently trailing it at t

  13. Under the Radar » Blog Archive » Enter the Wufoo says:

    [...] Seen and Heard: Techcrunch gives a positive shout-out “Wufoo is so flexible, usable and has such good reporting that it made me want to create some forms just so I could use it” and Solution Watch admits “Honestly, my first impression was, “Here we go. Another form creation tool.” I was wrong.” [...]

  14. Tony Yu says:

    Nenest has a more powerful Form Server, which provides many unique features:

    * Many pre-programmed controls for input fields such email, phone number, pictures, rich text editor, address etc.
    * Rich Text Editor allows visitors can type complex documents with pictures, colors, tables etc.
    * File Attachments
    * Email Notification
    Many more at: http://www.nenest.com

  15. bruce says:

    yet there is another one http://www.appnitro.com

  16. Jain says: