When used correctly, forms can be a helpful tool for collecting information, generating notifications or communicating with visitors to your website. However, forms can also be exploited to generate SPAM and can therefore become a security concern in some cases. To minimize this possibility, please keep these best practices in mind when creating a form.
There are several options for creating forms for use on NC State sites.
NC State is a Google campus and all faculty, staff and students have Google accounts. Your Google account includes access to Google Forms, which ties into the Google Drive and Spreadsheets functionality.
You can create a new Google Form by going to your Google Drive and choosing New > Google Forms.
The form tool allows you to create a variety of question types: short answer, multiple choice, dropdown, etc. There are also more complex fields that will let you further customize your questions. Responses will be saved in the Google form tool and can also be exported to a Google Sheet. Finally, there are settings available to allow you to limit who can respond to the form by affiliation (campus users only), limit the number of responses, and choose confirmation text, among other options.
NC State has a license agreement for campus-wide use of Qualtrics, an online survey software tool. Qualtrics comes with an array of useful form and survey tools:
- Over 100 question types, including: multiple choice, matrix tables, text entry, descriptive text, graphics, constant sum, rank order, side-by-side, drill down, timing, and meta information
- Library of existing surveys, questions, graphics, and messages that users can add to or draw from
- Advanced customization of questions such as randomization, skip/display logic, forced response validation, etc.
- Ability to upload population files into Qualtrics to easily personalize and distribute surveys
- Multiple distribution options including: Qualtrics e-mailer, customizable survey URL, social media, and QR codes
- Ability to monitor survey progress and send reminder and thank-you messages
- Downloadable response data in various formats: Excel, SPSS, XML, and HTML
- Ability to create reports, graphs, charts, and statistical results of response data
To get access to Qualtrics at NC State please visit the OIRP site. Here you will find instructions for logging in, as well as FAQs and contact information for Qualtrics help.
Forms in WordPress
WordPress is a popular publishing platform for campus and has a number of Form plugins available. You can find a list of recommend plugins available from WordPress.org. Be sure that you choose a plugin that is well-reviewed, heavily utilized, and often updated.
Gravity Forms is a reliable WordPress plugin with excellent support and add-ons that can extend the functionality of your forms. However, there is a cost associated with obtaining a license for its use. Contact your local web or IT support group to see if this option is available to you. You may want to consider this as a solution for more complex or heavily-utilized forms.
Please keep these Best Practices in mind when creating a form.