Filling out electronic forms has become a standard part of life for most people. Therefore, many businesses and other organizations rely on electronic form software to connect with the public, gather data, and approve requests. If you're planning to deploy e-form software, it's a good idea to know what the key features need to be before you buy.
Collection and Processing
Data collection and processing are the bread and butter of the e-form software world. Consequently, your system needs to be highly available with forms people can easily understand without much explanation. Every electronic form should have limited instructions that a literate adult can follow with ease. Likewise, the forms should follow the tried-and-true structure of using fields for entries and a submit button to complete the process.
You may also need to collect and process supporting documentation. For example, your e-form software might have to collect copies of drivers' licenses so you can confirm new accounts. The process should accept many image formats from scanners and phones, and it should operate swiftly over high-speed internet and cell phone connections. Also, it needs to have rock-solid security and follow all applicable data privacy protocols like HIPAA or GDPR.
Lots of junk data will come through the electronic form software. This happens because of bots, insincere users, and even honest human errors. Regardless of the reason why bad data hits the server, the software needs to scan and validate it. It should check for typos, common mistakes, and improperly formatted entries.
Where possible, e-forms should offer corrections or at least prompt users to fix things before submitting. Similarly, it should allow a user to override the validation and make submissions if they believe what they've entered is correct.
Many forms need to calculate something either for the user or for your organization. Ideally, the electronic form software should handle as much of the calculation process as possible. If you need someone to submit two fields of financial data, for example, it's better to run the calculation through the form based on two entries than it is to have them do the math on their own.
Most folks who are gathering data, forms, or other information will want to look at the submissions in aggregate. You might only need some simple information, such as how many users made submissions, or you could need complex demographic data covering geographic areas, age groups, educational levels, and so on. The e-form software should be able to quickly produce formats and present them in printed form or an electronic dashboard.