We’re all familiar with the classic Contact Form—Name, Contact Details, and Message.
But did you know that forms can be used for so much more than just that?
Through years of asking careful questions to find out what information our clients really need, we’ve developed a multitude of more advanced uses for forms.
Let’s talk about a few ways you may not know about to make your forms more useful, organized, and awesome.
Conditional Display of Fields
When we started building employment applications with Gravity forms, we realized how overwhelming they could be. They had dozens of fields, and a lot of the fields didn’t apply to every applicant.
Our concern was that users would look at a long online form and decide not to fill it out. So we decided to use conditional fields.
Conditional fields in Gravity Forms allow you to show a field only if a certain condition is met.
For us, that meant something like this: Only showing a field asking about college details if the user answers “Yes” they attended college.
If they answer No, they can continue onto the next question without seeing a box that asks for college information. It’s cleaner and less confusing.
Other Uses for Conditional Fields
- Ask for clarification for a yes / no question
- Ask for credit card information only if the user wants to pay by credit card
- Ask for an address only if a customer wants a receipt mailed to them
Setting Up Conditional Logic
If you want to use conditional fields, choose the field that should show based on the answer to another question. Then navigate to edit the field, click the Advanced tab, and click the checkbox for “Enable Conditional Logic”.
Set the field to only “Show” this field if All of the following match:
“Basis field” is “Yes/No/something else”
Note that to use conditional logic, you will need to create a drop down, checkbox, single line text or multiple choice field.
Check out this tutorial from BobWP for a step-by-step video.
Conditional Routing of Form Emails
Do you have different departments and multiple contacts who may need to handle inquiries from your website? With conditional routing, you can automatically send your form to the right person.
Using this feature, you don’t have to send all forms to a single person to have them read and decide who they should forward it to.
As an example, one of our clients is a concrete company that sells a wide range of products and services. To make sure their inquiries go to the right people, we implemented a drop-down on the form so the user could indicate what their question is about.
Based on the answer to the “Reason for Inquiry”, the form sends to the right person to handle that inquiry quickly. It saves time for the company and allows them to get back to the user faster.
Setting Up Conditional Routing
Conditional notifications are set up by going to your WordPress dashboard > Forms > the form you want to configure > Settings > Notifications.
Next to the “Send To” option, select “Configure Routing.” Then you can configure “Send to [Email address] if [Your field] is [Answer]”
For more detailed instructions, check out the help doc from Gravity Forms.
Redirect to a Custom Thank You Page
A third way to make your forms more awesome is to make the user’s experience even better after they press “Submit.” Ditch the standard “confirmation message” and create a better “Thank You page” that the user sees after filling out your form.
By default, when a user submits your form, they will simply see a confirmation message take the place of the form on the page.
Instead of that tiny, impersonal message, consider redirecting to a more feature-rich Thank You page.
Ideas for What to Include on a Thank You Page
- A brief explanation of when and how you’ll follow up with the submitter
- Clear instructions for what they should do next
- An invitation to opt in for your email list
- Links to your social media accounts
- Links to your most popular or most recent blog posts
For even more ideas, don’t miss Thank You Pages: 15 Examples of Missed Opportunities by Orbit Media.
Benefits of a Thank You Page
- You can use goal tracking in Google Analytics to track how many form submissions you get (and other metrics too)
- Create a more memorable connection with a lead
- Set clearer expectations about when you’ll get back to them
Use Ready Classes to Format Fields into Columns
Here’s a way to make your form’s formatting more awesome.
Do you have several short fields or maybe a checkbox or radio button with many possible entries? Gravity Forms Ready Classes may be your answer to setting them up in multiple columns.
Ready Classes make lists appear shorter and less intimidating. Gravity Forms has several predefined classes to set up two and three column formatting.
For example, in this employment application there were several fields that we placed in two columns up to shorten the application:
Here’s a screenshot of the settings:
On this form, we used a ready class to shorten a list of check boxes:
Here’s a screenshot of the settings:
Send Conditional Notification Emails
Sometimes the email notification you want to send might be slightly different based on a selection within the form. For example, if a user wants to pay by check, you might want to send instructions on where to send the check.
Here are a few different notification emails we set up for a client’s fundraising event. These send based on how the submitter chooses to pay, or if they are a sponsor:
These notifications are set up by going to your WordPress dashboard > Forms > the form you want to configure > Settings > Notifications. Select the Add New button. Give the notification a meaningful name like “Participant Notification – Check”. Configure the normal notification fields. Fill out the text box with the information you want emailed to the participant.
Under the text box is the “Conditional Logic” check box. When you check that box, the form displays fields for you to configure the conditions when this notification is sent. (Note that they are using conditional logic to display the configuration fields – If the Conditional Logic box is checked, display the fields).
These conditional fields work like all of the other ones in Gravity Forms but instead of displaying fields, it is sending notifications. See the Gravity Forms help document on Conditional Logic for more information.
I hope these ideas are the rocket fuel you need to do even more with your forms plugin. Don’t settle for just the default!
Do you have a favorite forms feature add-on? Share it with us in the comments.