Review of Formstack

I’ve been testing online form and survey creation tools for some time. I recently clicked on an ad in Tweetie that led me to Formstack, a newcomer to the game. I’m a fan.

This is the first service whose free trial has motivated me to sign up for a paid plan.

The pros of Formstack

User Interface

The user interface for Formstack is absolutely lovely. Creating new sections, adding new fields, using form logic (in other words, show this section question only if the response to a previous question is X) are all intuitive. Everything seems to have been thought through and well-tested.

Pricing

The pricing plans suit me. The cheapest plan, at $14/month, allows for 5 forms with up to 50 fields per form, and 500 responses. Perfect. You can also upgrade or downgrade at any time, and save by paying for a year at once.

Features

Two features that I’ve been looking for consistently in these apps are:

  1. The ability for the end user to save the form/survey and return later. I think this is really important for a long form that may take some thought or research to complete. Formstack accomplished it fairly elegantly by displaying a “Save Answers and Resume Later” button at the bottom of the form, and then providing a link back to the form which the user can copy and save.
  2. Having an “upload” form field, which allows the user to attach a file (such as an image or pdf) to the form. Formstack: yes.

Another nice feature is that when you embed a form on your own site, Formstack doesn’t use an iFrame, which means that whatever styles you have on your site apply to the embedded Formstack form — nice!

There a lot of other niceties as well, such as the fact that Formstack reports the browser and OS of each respondent, and a number of pre-designed common form types (such as Contact form or Party RSVP), and pre-filled select lists (such as Time Zones).

The cons of Formstack

Hm, I actually found it hard to come up with any. If you’re looking for more built-in analytics of form responses in aggregate, then Survs may be a better option.

The only little user-interface problem I had was that the “Add Field” button always ads the new field at the bottom of the form. To put a field just below an existing one, you can use the “Duplicate Field” button, but you might actually want to insert a totally different type of question somewhere in your form. But you can easily reorder fields, so this is really a minor thing.

Comment
2 comments so far…

Noah Apr 21 2010

Great write-up on Formstack!

Just FYI… When adding a field to the form, when you hover your mouse over the “Add Field” button at the bottom, you should see a 4-way arrow icon appear. If you click and drag this arrow icon, you can drag it onto the form and drop it where you want the new field to appear.

Nora Brown Apr 21 2010

Oh – beautiful. I knew those cross-hairs indicated the ability to drag and drop something, just didn’t pick up on it totally. Thanks for commenting!

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