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If you’re like me, you have tried many different “forms” plugins trying to get forms to work on your website. However, every plugin I tried seemed to be missing one or two items that my client wanted. So I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time searching for the perfect forms plugin for each client.
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Then, I discovered Gravity Forms.
I bought the Personal version originally and then once I had a need for more websites, I upgraded to each level. Additional capabilities were made available to me with each level, so that increased my ability to use Gravity Forms for my clients.
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But Gravity Forms Is A Little Difficult To Learn
This is a common problem that I see. It seems that the more features that are available, the more difficult it is to learn how to use the tool. Gravity Forms is no different.
So, I spent a lot of time digging through the information available on the Gravity Forms website, but it is basically just a forum that you can ask questions, give answers, and do searches on previous questions. I haven’t found any type of coordinated training on the Gravity Forms website.
Where Can I Get Training
It doesn’t matter what the subject is – from cupcake decorating to jewelry making to fingernail painting to Gravity Forms – it seems there’s a video for everything on YouTube. I sat down over a couple of evenings and watched every video that I could find on YouTube about Gravity Forms.
I felt a little more educated. But, there just wasn’t a step by step education program for Gravity Forms available. Someone should create a video training program and make it available.
How To Build A Web Form To The Rescue
Adam W. Warner and the team at WP Pro Business developed a video training program about Gravity Forms and made it available this past Summer. I was fortunate enough to receive a pre-release copy in exchange for giving it a quick review and then posting my comments on the sales thread.
Once I started watching the videos, I couldn’t stop watching. Rather than just watching a couple to see the quality and value that they were promising, I watched every single one of them and even though I’ve been using Gravity Forms for a couple of years, I still learned several things. It was well worth the time I invested and would have been worth the cost of admission if I were buying.
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What Is Included In The Training
In this installment of the Gravity Forms training, Adam has included ten video modules ranging from about 6 minutes to almost 20 minutes covering a myriad of Gravity Forms functions and settings.
Overview And Installation – Running Time 7:03
This first video is a quick overview of Gravity Forms, shows you where to get it, and how to install it. If you have Gravity Forms, then you will need to install it. If you don’t have Gravity Forms, you can get it at the Gravity Forms website.
Once you’ve installed and activated Gravity Forms, then you are ready to proceed.
Add-Ons And Form Builder Interface – Running Time 18:26
Once you have activated the plugin, you can navigate to the AddOns menu to install any Add-Ons that you’d like to have in this installation. Your choices of Add-Ons are determined by the license level that you purchased. If you chose the Developer license, then you have access to all the Add-Ons.
Now, it’s time to build a form.
Standard Form Fields – Running Time 19:39
In this section, Adam goes through each of the standard form fields and explains the basics of using each of those fields. Since I had used Gravity Forms for so long and so much, I didn’t really expect to learn much here.
I was wrong.
Adam explained the “Enable Enhanced User Interface” which puts a search box when you have a dropdown box with lots of choices. This is something that I don’t notice until I’m filling out a form that doesn’t have this capability. A perfect example of the value of this is when choosing your state in an address form. Rather than having to scroll down through all 50 states (plus any other choices), you simply start typing in the search field and it finds choices that meet what you’ve typed in.
I had never used this because I didn’t realize that was what that selection did. Now, I’ll use it every time that I have a selection with more than about ten chocies. I may even use it every time.
Another interesting discussion was the HTML field. I had never used it or given it much thought. But, using this field, you can embed a video into a form explaining what you are looking for in the form fields directly below it. Or, if you are running a training website, you can put a test together using the form and have a video that the test taker watches before answering the questions.
After watching this segment, I realize that “Standard” doesn’t necessarily mean “Simple” – in fact, it’s far from it. Once again, Gravity Forms proves to be more powerful for most applications.
Advanced Form Fields – Running Time 12:32
I was excited at the prospects of learning more about the Advanced Form Fields. I’ve used many of them before, but considering I learned something in the Standard Form Fields video, I was expecting to learn even more valuable techniques in this section.
While I learned a little something about each of the fields, the real “take away” was the List Fields. I had never used this field – primarily because I didn’t know what it did or what the value was. List fields are excellent when you need someone to enter several rows of data and you either need to limit the number of rows that they input, or you don’t know how many they will input. Settings are provided to make the form completely dynamic so that they can keep adding rows of data until they’ve got them all in, or you can limit it to a certain number of rows that you pre-define. Plus, these rows can have multiple columns that you define when building the form.
Now, i can’t wait for the next opportunity to use this function. I’ll be looking for those opportunities now.
Post Form Fields – Running Time 18:11
I have actually never used the Post Fields – and I didn’t originally think I ever would. Then, a client asked about the potential of allowing his subscribers to post articles for publication on his photography related website as a way of increasing interaction on the website. At that point, I realized that I needed to learn this section of the video training.
Adam goes through each of the choices and explains almost every option in detail. The only section that is not fully covered here is the Content Templates – which are covered in a later video.
If you are familiar with and use Custom Fields on your WordPress website, then the explanation of those in relation to Gravity Forms should be very useful for you. I do not use Custom Fields in any websites that I would use Gravity Forms for a post submission, so this didn’t hold as much value and excitement for me. But, I did welcome the opportunity to learn a little more about them.
Pricing Form Fields – Running Time 9:25
My first exposure to Gravity Forms was for a client that wanted a Shopping Cart on their website. Since I build websites using the Genesis framework from StudioPress, I decided to ask in the StudioPress forums what was the recommended Shopping Cart for my client. Overwhelmingly, Cart66 was recommended. When digging into Cart66, their website showed a lot of integration with Gravity Forms to create really nice looking sales/purchase pages. At that point, I was hooked.
But, even without Cart66, you can build some really nice order forms with various options for your products. For example, a client has asked me to build them a website for selling T-shirts. This product has a base price for most sizes, but when you want an X-Large, XX-Large, and XXX-Large, there are upcharges because they require more cloth. So, using Gravity Forms, I can create selections for each size and then have the upcharge as part of the form for the additional sizes. This is sooooo much easier than many systems I’ve tried to use in the past.
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Conditional Logic Usage – Running Time 7:43
Up until this point, you have seen how to create standard forms that provide some nice options; however, that is not the real power of Gravity Forms. You could do almost everything we’ve already done using a simple Google Doc embedded into your website. The conditional logic is what makes Gravity Forms stand head and shoulders above most forms plugins.
One of my clients is an independent insurance agent and needed about 30 forms on their website – many for potential clients requesting quotes for insurance. Their old website had this capability, but it was a HUGE data entry form and most clients just didn’t bother. Using Gravity Forms, I broke the form into separate pages so that the form didn’t overwhelm the potential client at the start. Then, I used the conditional logic to show or hide sections of the form based upon responses to other sections.
For example, one question asked if the person is single, married, divorced, or widowed. If the client answered anything but married, they progressed to the next section of the form. If they answered “married”, then a section of the form was revealed where they could put their spouse’s name and information in. Another example would be children. If they answer that they have children, then a section is revealed where they can put in the children’s information. Then, we can nest another condition if the child is of driving age where their driver information can be input. Try to do that with many contact forms – I’ve not seen but one other that will do this type of logic.
This is where the power of Gravity Forms can be utilized to create extremely interactive data collection systems for you and your clients. If you want to get really creative, you can build elaborate conditional statements from multiple answers all joined by Boolean statements. An example would be having a set of buttons for “How do you want us to communicate with you? _Mail _Email _Text _Phone” and then if the user chose “Mail”, present them with a second choice of whether they were in the US, Canada, or Other. Based upon the choice of “Mail” and “US” they would see an address form for US addresses, if it were “Mail” and “Canada” they would see a different one, and finally if it were “Mail” and “Other” they would see an international address form. Of course, if they chose anything other than “Mail” the address form would be hidden.
If you don’t know how to build these forms with conditional fields, then you will definitely receive value from this video course.
Multi Page Form Creation – Running Time 5:55
There’s nothing that most people hate worse than trying to enter data into a website and see a HUGE data entry form – they usually feel like they are being interrogated. Using the multi-page feature of Gravity forms allows you to break longer forms up into smaller bite-sized segments. Then, you can group things on each page that are related but break them apart from unrelated information.
One of my pet peeves when completing a multi-page form though is when I don’t have a clue how far I am into the form and how much more I have to go. Gravity Forms allows you to display either a progress bar (with progress shown in percentage) or display a page number showing what page you are on in relation to the whole. I always use these options because I just think it is friendlier.
File Upload Form Creation – Running Time 6:53
For some websites, you may wish to allow people to upload a file to your website – either for your review or for publication on your website. One client of mine is a veterinarian and has asked clients to upload photos of their pets. Occasionally, we’ll ask for cute pet photos for a contest that everyone can vote on. We use the upload file function of Gravity Forms to set up a place for clients to upload their photos directly to us. This video teaches you how to build a form that will do exactly that job.
Content Template Usage – Running Time 6:15
This is a feature of Gravity Forms that I have never used either. However, after watching the video, I can see where it could be a very valuable tool for formatting user submitted materials. You can create a template that formats user submitted information using the post fields and have it formatted exactly like you’d like it to look. Although you probably cannot get too fancy with the layout, this can provide a method to format guest articles in a consistent manner.
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This Sounds Great – Where Can I Get It
If this sounds like training that you could benefit from, then hope on over to How To Build A Web Form and you can start developing your form SuperHero powers for only $27. But, don’t order from that website yet. Adam was planning to offer a big discount to WPMU readers that would save everyone some money. As I was finishing this article, something even bigger happened though and the course is now part of the offering at UDemy so you can get this course with a 45% discount there by using the code “WPMU” – making it only $15.
Once you complete the video course, be sure to come back here and post your thoughts on it. We’d all love to hear them. If you’ve already taken this video course, let us know your thoughts in the comments section. If you’d like a review of other WordPress training courses, be sure to post those requests here and we’ll see if we can put that together – we’re always looking for good content that our readers desire.
Photo Credit: SuperHero courtesy of Powerful Presets