IDC, sponsored by Nintex, reveals ways to automate for success in this free whitepaper. Read now x
Home|Nintex Process Platform|Forms|Learn|What is a digital form builder?

What is a digital form builder?

A digital form builder is a tool to create customized forms for websites and apps.

Whether gathering contact details, opinions, or customer feedback, digital form builders streamline data collection from online users. They also encourage user engagement, prompting users to take actions like joining mailing lists, subscribing to newsletters, or signing up for alerts or notifications.

Understanding digital form builders

With a drag-and-drop interface, a digital form builder allows anyone to design online forms to meet their business needs. You can create multiple types of questions within a single form, such as open response or multiple choice (check boxes, option buttons, or drop-down lists).

You can then share these forms directly with your intended audience via a link or embed them directly into your website or app. Businesses send forms internally (to gain employee or stakeholder information, for example) and externally (to collect orders or feedback from employees).

Some digital form builders let you include forms in a workflow via automation to save time or introduce custom form controls via plugins for a more customized experience.

Benefits of digital form builders

In the past, companies primarily used paper forms to collect information. They had to print, distribute, and collect the forms—and then manually enter the data into
eir digital systems, leading to potential errors and delays.

As more companies switched to a remote model, digital form builders became increasingly popular. Paper forms are still used in some instances, but digital form builders offer numerous benefits to users, including:

  • Reduced paper usage: By digitizing data collection, form builders eliminate the need for paper, reducing costs associated with printing, storage, and manual processing. Centralized digital storage ensures easy access to your information, promoting efficiency and sustainability.
  • Time and cost savings: Compared to traditional methods, digital form builders save time and resources associated with manual data collection and processing. Many of these tools also offer automation, further improving productivity and reducing labor costs.
  • Improved user experience (UX): Many form builders use conditional logic to create forms that adapt to user inputs in real time. This makes the forms quicker for their customers and employees to complete and submit. This personalizes their experience and fosters higher engagement.

What to look for in a digital form builder

Not all digital form builders are created equal. Here’s what to look for:

User-friendly interface
An intuitive interface simplifies form creation and integration with websites or apps. Choose a tool with a drag-and-drop functionality that requires minimal technical expertise, making it accessible to users of all levels. Ease of use lowers barriers to adoption.

When evaluating tools, check out their integration options. How easy is it to share your form with other platforms? Can you transfer your data seamlessly to your customer relationship platform (CRM) or marketing and email software?

The best platforms let you tailor forms to match branding and design preferences. Detailed customization options—like the ability to fine-tune form structure or add images or logos—ensure you gather insightful data while maintaining brand consistency.

Depending on what kind of forms you want to make, you may need to look beyond the basic features. Some tools let you go beyond text-based form fields to add barcode scanners, geolocation tags, images, and attachments.

Analytics and reporting
These features let you analyze form submissions and engagement. You can drill down into metrics like views, submissions, and completions. Then, you can share these insights through a variety of reports and use them to continuously improve your forms.

Data security
Find a company that takes security and compliance seriously, offering multiple layers of protection for confidential user data. Look for features like encryption to secure data in transit and CAPTCHA to prevent spam.

Workflow automation
Many forms exist as part of a pre-defined process. Form builders empowered with low-code automation do the heavy lifting—collecting signatures or messaging team members for you.

Templates (or AI assistance)

When you want to create a form quickly, templates are the way to go. Look for software that offers a bank of premade options to customize—or an AI assistant to help you get started.

Use cases for digital form builders

Companies use digital form builders for a variety of internal and external purposes.

Within the organization, you can use form builders to create forms for:

  • Employment applications: Use digital forms to make it easy for employees to apply for open roles. By splitting your application into separate pages, you avoid overwhelming the applicant to create a more pleasant experience.
  • Employee onboarding: Simplify onboarding by creating electronic forms for new hires. With a secure form, employees can submit personal information, tax forms, and benefits enrollment. This saves time and reduces paperwork for employees and human resources (HR) personnel.
  • Leave requests: Allow employees to submit requests for vacation or paid time off. Digital forms are quick and convenient for the employee. Plus, they make it easier for managers to track the requests and make informed decisions about staffing and scheduling.
  • Event registration: Streamline registration for corporate events or conferences. Attendees can register, provide details, and receive confirmations and updates, and organizers can manage guest lists effectively.

Outside the organization, you can use form builders to create forms for:

  • Intake forms: Speed up registration and check-in at physical officers, like healthcare facilities.
  • Lead generation forms: Embed customizable contact forms on websites or landing pages to capture email addresses and details about potential customers. By including your company’s branding, you can create an even more memorable touchpoint.
  • Customer surveys: Gather valuable feedback through customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, feedback forms, or NPS® (Net Promoter Score) surveys. These surveys give you insights to improve products, services, and the customer experience (CX).
  • Order forms: Create online order forms with integrated payment processing. This streamlines the order process and the overall user experience.
  • Help desk requests: Use digital forms for help desk requests to reduce the need for phone calls or emails. With predefined fields and dropdown menus, forms standardize information collection to ensure agents have all the information they need to address an issue. Plus, many digital form builders integrate with help desk software or ticketing systems, allowing for automated routing and assignment of requests to streamline your workflows.

Digital form builders in action

Let’s take a look at how real companies use digital form builders to streamline their processes and save time:

  • IT system provisioning: Busy Bees, a childcare services provider with over 80 locations in Asia, needed an automated way to standardize IT provisioning for new employee onboarding. Using Nintex, the company set up a workflow that starts with a user, manager, or HR completing an online form. The system then routes the request to stakeholders for approval, creates user accounts, and assigns the licenses. By automating its provisioning requirements, the Busy Bees team saves time, reduces errors, and ensures that companies access important tools right away.Travel approvals: Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals noticed its employees struggling with the company’s paper-based travel approval process. They decided to shift to digital forms instead and automate the approval workflow. This removed paperwork bottlenecks and manual errors and allowed managers to approve requests 85% faster.
  • Healthcare operations: Denver’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) needed to work quickly to move its operations online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Denver used Nintex Forms to digitize 65 paper forms, allowing EOC workers to stay productive at home.

Best practices for using digital form builders

Get the most out of your form builder with these tips:

  • Know your audience: Tailor your form to meet the needs and capabilities of your audience. Consider factors like device compatibility, browser limitations, and potential connectivity issues to ensure accessibility for all respondents.
  • Streamline form fields and reduce friction: Design forms with a focus on user experience, minimizing unnecessary fields and steps to reduce friction and improve completion rates.
  • Test and optimize: Conduct thorough testing throughout the form’s life cycle, from initial creation to publication. Run A/B tests across different browsers and devices to ensure a seamless experience for respondents.
  • Divide and minimize: Simplify complex forms by breaking them into smaller, more manageable sections. Apply conditional logic so users only have to answer questions relevant to them.
  • Implement responsive design for mobile users: Make sure forms are responsive and mobile-friendly, adapting seamlessly to various screen sizes and devices for an optimal user experience. That way stakeholders can sign contracts on the way to the airport, and customers can submit feedback on the go.
  • Ensure accessibility and ADA compliance: To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), forms must be accessible to all users. Create a layout that’s easy to navigate, highlight required form fields, and use strong color contrast.