Formstack: Easy Web Forms With Sophisticated Options

I was recently asked to add a couple of forms to a client’s website. Over the years, my company has built a number of solutions for creating forms, notifying clients, and storing the collected data, but they all take some manual setup, and the client wanted the forms in a hurry. So I figured that I would try Formstack, based on Darrell’s recommendation from a few months ago.

Since Darrell wrote about this product, its name has changed from Formspring to differentiate itself from, a social network project from the same company. But as he described, it’s very easy to set up forms, and they can be embedded in existing websites by copying the HTML code that Formstack creates. And with a little more knowledge of HTML, one can do some surprisingly complex manipulation of those forms, like pre-populating fields, and passing field data from one form to another. It can route submissions to different people based on the content of submissions. It even has conditional logic, which I didn’t test, so I don’t know how it compares with online survey services with that kind of functionality, like SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang.

Of course, creating forms is just the beginning of the data collection process. I’m impressed by how easily one can store, organize, edit and share form submission data. One can set up additional users with access to the Formstack website, customize how data is displayed, download the data file in several formats, or even put the data in a Google Apps (s goog) spreadsheet for embedding in a website.

In addition, Formstack has other useful features, including charts and graphs showing form submissions. Formstack now also integrates with CakeMail, a white-label email marketing system that we covered here on WWD a few years ago, and with several online payment systems. And if one creates a lot of forms, they can now be organized into folders.

Formstack has several pricing plans, including a free starter plan. It offers a 25 percent discount for nonprofits.

In terms of speed, Formstack is mostly very responsive,although I occasionally found that it responded more slowly than I would have liked. But on the whole, I found it to be an excellent solution for managing web forms and data collection.

Do you use Formstack? How do you manage web forms?