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Forms As Trust Building Opportunities

Everything your organization puts out into the world - the way your receptionist answers calls, your business cards, and your website - is an expression of your values and culture.

The same goes for online forms: though they may seem to be just boring (though necessary) hoops to jump through, every form offers a chance to communicate to and build a relationship with your clients.

User experience and information designer Gerry Gaffney has found that forms often come across as insensitive or even judgmental due to the way questions are worded or presented unclearly. Gaffney believes forms should take clients on a journey toward a common goal with friendly wording and clear directions.

How can you make your online forms easier and friendlier? SAM offers many ways to clarify and provide an explanation to clients along the way. Here are a few:

1. Use the top of the form for a concise explanation of what the form is for and how the information provided will be used and protected:

People like to know why filling out a form is important to their end goal. They also like to know why you need certain information, who will be looking at it, and how it will be protected. Click the "Edit This Text" link above the first field section to add content to the top of your form.

2. Use public field properties to provide clarification and information:

You can find these options on the Field Properties screen for each field on your form. If the internal name for your form is confusing, use the Field Title for Public Forms to provide a friendlier sounding name.

3. Thank and let clients know about what to expect in the post-save message

Everyone wants to be reassured that the form saved properly and know what the next steps are. You can add a post-save message via the Public Form Properties link on the form customizer sidebar.

Be sure to provide clients with an estimated time until the next step will happen, be that a followup call or email from your agency.

We also suggest using Auto Actions to email a family a thank you email once an application has been completed.

Remember that forms are a reflection of your agency's values and brand. Take a moment to review your main public forms. What can be made friendlier or clearer for your clients? And, as always, if you need help along the way, use the "Support" link in your SAM site to get in touch!

UX, LeadershipSara Shepherd