It is imperative that end users are able to easily communicate with you using forms on your website. This is particularly important if forms are the basis of your website. For example if you want to develop a job portal then forms will make an indispensable part of your system. Forms will be used by recruiters to provide details of job descriptions and will be used be job seekers to apply for jobs listed on the website.
How then should you make forms an effective communication channel?
Well, the answer to that is pretty simple. Choose a form builder that makes communicating with you a simple and swift process for the end user and provides you with an option to create forms and evaluate user entries effortlessly.
In the wake of this let’s figure out if Formidable Forms is the go to form builder plugin for your WordPress website. I test drove the plugin, the free as well as the pro and here’s what I found!
Formidable Forms – The Free Plugin
The free version of formidable forms is wholesome in terms of the functionalities that it provides. Once you have installed the free version of the plugin on your WordPress website you’ll be able to do the following.
Create a Form
The most basic feature that the form builder provides is that of form creation. You can drag and drop elements to create a form which makes form creation simple.
View all Created Forms
A list of all the forms created by you can be viewed in the website’s backend. Forms in this list can be viewed as well as edited.
View Entries for Forms
Formidable Forms also provides an option to view all user entries for individual forms. This consolidated view of entries makes the process of analysis easy.
Import & Export Forms
You can import and export forms. (*psst* Read forms. Not Entries, not views, not styles. Just forms)
Add Custom Messages
Formidable Forms allows you to converse with your users the way you want to. So while the default message on form submission is ‘Your responses were successfully submitted. Thank you!’ you can choose to say ‘Your information is a secret with us. Thanks!’ Similarly, other messages can be customized too.
Manage Spam Entries
It supports reCAPTCHA. So if you’re worried about Spam you don’t need to!
Control User Permissions
Apart from the whole list of features that I just mentioned you also get to control permissions that users get on your website.
Styling – The Winning Feature
In my view, however, the winning feature of Formidable Forms is the option to style forms as per your requirements using an interactive and easy to understand user interface.
The styler allows you to control various aspects of a form’s user interface by simply navigating through and selecting options and seeing real-time changes in the adjoining panel where the form is displayed. Styling for individual fields as well the complete form can be controlled using this feature
In my opinion, this feature makes the plugin earn a score over most other leading form builder plugins.
However, it is restrictive in terms of the different type of fields provided by the form. The free version comes with only the following eight fields. (Can’t blame the developers. After all it’s free. You can expect to get everything in there)
This limits the applications of the plugin to a large extent and cannot be used on websites that are largely dependent on elaborate forms.
Formidable Forms – The Pro Version
The pro version comes loaded with a host of really powerful features. So if you’re willing to loosen your pockets just a bit (Read $47) not only will you be able to boost the functionality of the core plugin, you will also get accessed to add-ons developed by the makers of Formidable Forms. The pro version along with the add-ons can really change the dynamics of the game. Let’s take a look at the major changes with respect to functionality between the two versions.
While the free version comes with 8 fields the pro version just got three times better with 25 different fields. The fields provided totally change the way you create forms and allow you to design complex forms required for specific use cases.
Repeating Fields, Calculations and Conditional Logic
Looking for advanced functionality? With repeating sections allowing users to dynamically duplicate form fields, conditional logic to hide/show form fields, and the ability to calculate results based on form entries, Formidable Forms has got you covered.
Import and Export Revamped
The import & export feature from the free version has also been revamped to include the CSV file format. Apart from that you can also decide the type of files that you would like to export from the website. The options include entries, forms, views and styles which can be exported individually or together.
Save Form as Drafts
Another interesting feature that has been provided is that of an option to save incomplete forms as drafts for end users. So let us say if the end user on your website suddenly got bored filling out the form then he can come back and complete it later, provided he’s logged in.
To add to all the awesomeness, the developers give 14 add-ons for Formidable forms at no additional cost. This aspect totally nails the deal! While all the add-ons are rich in terms of what they can do the one’s that caught my attention are the following.
- Formidable API – Allows you to send form data to any other site with the REST API.
- PayPal – You can now use the forms an eCommerce plugin too. Most useful to sell services.
- Zapier – Your gateway to connect with different applications like facebook, Dropbox, gmail etc
- Math Captcha – Let’s you keep a check on spam like never before!
You can take a look at all the addons here.
Views – The Winning Feature
If you thought to get all that at $47 was awesome, then hold on. It’s just about to get better. Formidable Forms provides an option to display entries submitted for a form on the website by creating views and assigning and linking a form to the view. You can also choose who can see this data on your website.
This feature is especially useful for websites that need to display data submitted by one set of users to another set of users. For example, if Formidable Forms is used on a job listing website then ‘Views’ can be used to display jobs submitted by recruiters to job seekers that come on the website.
I consider it a winning feature not only because it adds incredible value to the list of plugin functionalities but also because it has been packaged in the pro version itself.
The Final Verdict
Documentation – 5/5
I can’t think of a point when I couldn’t find something I wasn’t able to to myself in the documentation. It is detailed and it is thorough. Without a doubt a perfect five there too.
Ease of Use 3.5/5
As far as usability is concerned I am disappointed. Going to the documentation each time I don’t understand something small is tedious. Neither do I have the patience nor the time! More tooltips and help icons would be appreciated!
Price – 5/5
The pro version comes at a reasonable price of $47 and is loaded with features along with an option to download all add-ons (except the one’s developed by third parties). Hence the plugin definitely scores a five on the pricing front.
The free version of the plugin is good but not great. It’s an ideal replacement for Contact Form 7 if you would like to save user entries at the back end. However, if you are looking for something bigger, Pro is the way to Go!!
From where I see, your only reason for not choosing Formidable Forms is you’re looking for something specific, like say for example integration with a particular payment gateway. In that case it would make sense. But if it’s only about the functionality then Formidable Forms is definitely worth it!
What are your thoughts on Formidable Forms? Anything you’d like to add to or differ from my evaluation of the plugin?
As for me I’m done playing around with Formidable Forms!