Attack of the Terrible Forms!

Are you scaring potential clients away with terribly long or complicated forms? Learn how to break up a long form into manageable sections that save progress as you go and encourage completion.

If your agency is currently using an online form that feels too long, or are struggling to have families complete paperwork, it's time to break that form up!

Using shorter forms containing related questions makes your online processes feel easier, whether its an application for potential adoptive families, foster care outreach, donor forms, or event registration. Short forms encourage completion and ensure data is saved properly (since taking over 30 minutes to complete a long form puts users at risk for connection issues or internet timeouts that result in data loss).

In this two-minute video, I show how to break up an existing form, redirect a form to the next one, and add a progress bar on the top to let users know how far along they are in the process:

Note: your SAM site will need the Form Customizer module to make these changes. If you don't have it, you can use the Support link in your SAM site to request our team break-up a form!

If you don't have time to watch the video, or need a summary of the steps, here's what you'll need to do:

  1. Decide how you want to break your existing form up. In my example, I break a long application form into six sections of related fields. Look for fields / subforms you could remove completely.
  2. Open your form in editing mode (Settings > Public Forms > Edit)
  3. Start the process by making copies of the original. You'll need as many copies of the original as sections / forms you want to break it into. Do this via Advanced Options > Really Advanced Options > Make New Form From this One.
  4. Now begin editing each copy - remove fields and subforms that don't fit into the sections you decided on.
  5. Redirect the forms to take the user to the next one upon saving. Do this via Advanced Options > Public Form Properties, and use the "Redirect" option to go to the next form.
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As a final touch, consider adding a series of progress bar images to the top of each form. You can download our set below:

You can do this same thing with internal forms. The redirect is especially helpful if staff are expected to complete a form if another one is filled out. 

As always, use the "Support" link in your SAM site if you have questions or need a hand!