Everyone is being hit by the poor economy and everyone is looking for new ways to increase revenue. Recently, I have received a number of requests with almost the same requirements:
Hey, I see an opportunity to do xyz, and all I need is something simple on the web to establish a trustworthy online identity. The site only needs to be simple, easy to use and has something like a contact form so my clients can get in touch with me, I don't need a database or something sophisticated because I understand it will be expensive.
Okay, so what are the underlying messages here and what are the business requirements? Essentially, the client is looking for:
- A clean, simple design. Keep it straight, only a few things are needed: about us, contact me, introduction. It is up to the client's desire to request the site to be one page design or a few pages view, their call.
- A contact form, the core part. On the hand, the form needs to be easy to use, while it looks cool with some fancy web 2.0 UI elements like date picker, error indication etc. On the other hand, the client needs to have a complete view of what exactly the users have entered through the form, in another word, a full-fledged report.
As you can guess, client just wants something quick and dirty so they can do their businesses in few days, and they probably don't care whether it has a slick UI with the latest,cool features like Ajax, auto-complete etc. I first start with building everything from scratch, build a html form with all kinds of cool stuff by leveraging jQuery UI, store all the form inputs and pass into a PHP script then mail to the user. I soon realized this is not the best way to approach this kind of problem as clients constantly want to change this and that: UI changes, adding/removing/modifying form fields, any minor changes will require according changes in the back end. You feel my pain?
I soon discovered Wufoo, a form builder site that "making forms easy + fast + fun". Wufoo indeed makes form building a piece of cake, after you register for an account, you will be given three free forms (which should be enough for most people). While building a form is a no brainer, I will show you the form I built in 5 minutes.
Clicking on any field will give you more options to customize.
Each field is customizable, the cool part is you can define a customized message, and you can even let wufoo to send you the entire report to your personal email box, or view the report over wufoo.
Best of all, wufoo takes care all the business for you no matter what minor modifications you make over your form.
Once you have your form built, you can load up the form with as simple as iframing it. You may view the live demo by going to my contact page
Wufoo - wow, really cool!