Section 508 Compliant Web Forms for Accessibility

Deborah Kim • February 20th, 2015

Section 508 Compliant Web Forms

Did you know that FormAssembly forms are Section 508 compliant? If you’re a nonprofit, school, or government organization, this is great news: you don’t have to worry about the accessibility and usability of your web forms. FormAssembly takes care of it for you.

What are Section 508 compliant web forms?

Section 508 compliance means respondents with disabilities can read and fill out FormAssembly forms. We’ve designed FormAssembly web forms to be accessible through assistive technology. For example:

  • Alternative text is provided for all non-text elements, so screen readers can identify all parts of a FormAssembly form.
  • Forms are readable without stylesheets.
  • An audio alternative for CAPTCHAs are available.

The technical standards for Section 508 compliance are defined in Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Part 1194. You can find more details in our Compliance Statement and Voluntary Product Accessibility Template.

Questions? Email us at helpdesk@formassembly.com, tweet @FormAssembly, or comment here.

Client Satisfaction Questionnaires: The Guide

Hannah Wright • February 19th, 2015

client-satisfaction-questionnaire

It’s no mystery that customer feedback is an important element to long-term business growth.

But before diving into your first client satisfaction questionnaire, it’s important to consider these three things:

1. Question choice

If you want to ask many questions, consider spacing them out or alternating between different surveys. Generally speaking, the fewer fields a visitor has to fill out, the less overwhelmed they will be.

That being said, here are a few questions a SaaS company might include in their survey:

  1. Did you find what you were looking for?
  2. How could your experience be improved?
  3. What feature do you find most useful?

Of course, questions will vary depending on the type of feedback you’re looking for. You can even alternate between questions to see which ones get the best results.

2. User-friendly design

Once somebody finds your survey and decides to give feedback, you want to make sure they finish it and click the submit button, right?

After all, you definitely wouldn’t want someone to abandon their survey halfway through.

The best way to ensure the process is a smooth one is by keeping design in mind.

Here is a screenshot example of a simple customer questionnaire built using FormAssembly’s drag-and-drop Form Builder:

client questionnaire survey

A few takeaways:

  • The design is sleek and aesthetically pleasing — not at all distracting.
  • There aren’t too many questions, which keeps the form minimalist and simple. People will notice right away that this questionnaire isn’t time-consuming, and will thus be more likely to answer. You can use conditional questions to eliminate unnecessary fields. In the example above, that would mean the second question wouldn’t appear at all unless the user answered “No.”

The key here is to choose a design that your visitors will love. For example, a tech company may choose a modern, minimalist design in grayscale, whereas an environmental organization might use more earthy tones.

It all comes down to knowing your audience and choosing a design that suits them.

3. Promotion

Blog post embed

Many companies also choose to create blog posts specifically for customer feedback. A blog post is a great way to let your customers know that you are really, genuinely interested in what they think.

But oftentimes, these posts for feedback end up redirecting visitors to a separate contact page with further instructions. Then it quickly turns into a long, drawn-out process and the customer realizes she doesn’t have the time to fill out a questionnaire.

Would you go through that whole process yourself? I know I wouldn’t — not unless I had a major problem on my hands.

And since you want feedback that is both urgent AND non-urgent, it’s important to make things as simple as possible.

So, why not eliminate an extra step by embedding a survey into the blog post itself? That way, users can easily share their thoughts and ideas without the hassle.

You can do this easily by installing a form embed plugin for WordPress.

Social media share

Social media is another awesome way to promote your customer satisfaction surveys. I don’t know about you, but whenever I follow a helpful product or service on social media, I’m much more likely to give them my feedback and support if they ask.

You can link to surveys on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and use your company hashtag to spread the word. Rather than tweet a generic message, say something personable so that people recognize you aren’t a robot (and that you value their feedback).

Newsletter plug

Whether your mailing list is large or you’re still working on it, it’s always a good idea to add a link to your survey in a newsletter. Your power users will open up those emails and likely be happy to give you their feedback.

Just make sure there is a bold, noticeable button that readers can click on to find the survey.

And the more direct you are, the better. A study by MailChimp revealed that straightforward subject lines tend to perform far better than cryptic ones. So, if you’re emailing customers with a link to your survey, let it be known in the subject line by saying you’re looking for feedback.

Have you created a customer questionnaire and have some great tips to share? Feel free to tweet us @FormAssembly or start a discussion in the comments below — we’d love to hear from you!

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Why Working Remotely is Awesome

Hannah Wright • February 18th, 2015

working remotely

Here at FormAssembly, our entire team is able to work remotely if they choose. Our physical office is located in Indiana, and we have staff members in Australia, Canada, Alabama, and Alaska. So far, it’s been an adventure.

We really love being able to work from anywhere in the world, so we’ve created this list of reasons why working remotely rocks.

Say goodbye to commuting

When working from home, you don’t have to worry about traffic or long commutes. That’s right: No more bumper-to-bumper traffic or super-late dinners.

According to studies, the average telecommuter saves a whopping $2,000 –  $7,000 per year.

Not bad, right?

Ultimate flexibility

Want to work from a coffee shop? How about taking the computer outside on a beautiful day? No problem.

Even if you prefer being in an office most of the week, you may want to break up your routine every once in a while — and what better way than by working from another location?

Some people thrive in a traditional office environment, while others excel working from home. With the option to work remotely, you’re free to choose how you work best. And that feels psychologically good.

FormAssembly’s Director of Business Development, Jaret, works in this basement space (AKA the “startup dungeon”). This picture was taken just after moving.

More talent

If your company is ready to try remote work, there’s no reason you should have to limit yourself to local candidates.

After all, you never know — the perfect addition to your team may be several states away. It’d be a shame if you missed out on an amazing candidate because they didn’t live nearby.

Or take this scenario: Say a great employee has to move out-of-state unexpectedly due to family circumstances. But rather than let go of a top-notch employee whom you’ve invested in, you could always keep them on board by letting them work from another state.

At our company, we hire all over the world and have team members in countries like Canada and Australia. Many of them found our job listings on websites like Hacker News — and we’re so glad they did.

Our remote stack

For a successful remote work environment, your team has to be 100% committed.

Even if just a few employees work from home, everyone in the company should be on the same page.

Here are the tools we use to get the job done, no matter where we are:

  • Flowdock: We use Flowdock to chat and keep each other up-to-date. We have a “flow” for each department, and a main room for general discussions that apply to everyone. It’s our solution for in-office chats, and a great way to ping someone if you have an urgent question or comment.
  • Basecamp: A great tool for project management and team collaboration.
  • Box: To efficiently share and manage files.
  • Google Hangouts: Perfect for video meetings and screensharing.
  • Google Apps: To create, edit, and manage documents.
  • Salesforce: To assist in automating the sales process.
  • Cirrus Insight: Salesforce + Gmail integration.
  • Gitlab & Redmine: To track development.
  • Email: Because you can’t deny the power of a good old-fashioned email. If it’s urgent, chat is better. If it can wait, go with email.

The challenges

Exercise (easier said than done)

It’s easy to forget about physical activity when working from home. You sign on, get lost in your work, and all of a sudden the day is over before you know it.

And let’s face it: It’s pretty convenient to let a workout slip your mind. Most of the time (or at least in the moment) it doesn’t sound very appealing.

But going for a walk increases blood flow, which is said to increase creativity. So, if you’re feeling dull or uninspired, it might be time for a quick walk.

Focus

It’s also worth mentioning that working remotely isn’t a dream come true for everyone. If you have trouble maintaining focus, it may not be the best environment for you.

remote work

Hillary, our Director of Customer Success, working from home (9 months pregnant)

People who thrive and really, truly excel in remote environments are natural self-starters and excellent communicators. On top of this, it’s important that they are comfortable being alone for extended periods of time.

Working from home doesn’t mean you can slack off and call your BFF. Work is work, no matter where you are.

Your friends will think they know what your job is like. Trust me: their vision of what you do all day will be VERY inaccurate. They think it’s one big pajama party. (Alright, there may be some truth to the “pajama” part.) But many people forget that working from home takes a tremendous amount of self-control, accountability, and drive.

For this reason, it’s important to set clear boundaries with your friends and family so that they know your work hours are set in stone.

Some people feel disconnected when they’re not in an office everyday.

If you’re feeling isolated, it could be a sign that you need to get out of the house. Pronto.

Location still matters

Environment can make a big difference, too — and the virtual workplace is no exception.

You have to take into account factors like internet speed, quality of life, and more. Make sure you are comfortable where you live, because you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Nomad List, a community for digital nomads, has a complete breakdown of the best cities to work online.

Inspiration

With the rise of flex work options, more and more companies are giving it a spin.

And this means that there’s ALWAYS something new to learn.

Here are some great articles that have been written by companies with distributed teams:

And if you haven’t already, check out the book REMOTE: Office Not Required by 37signals.

Conclusion

All in all, we think being able to work remotely is pretty awesome. While it’s not for everyone, it works for us and opens up many new opportunities — and we think that’s pretty cool.

Sound interesting? We’re hiring!

Do you think remote work is the future? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us @FormAssembly.

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Feature Requests: Help us decide what to add next

Deborah Kim • February 9th, 2015

formassembly-feature-requests

We’re continually trying to improve FormAssembly, and your feature requests make a huge difference in how we approach FormAssembly’s design and development. In fact, your ideas guide our roadmap! We’re always listening to your feedback.

So help us help you! In the Feature Face-Off below, pick what feature you’d like to see next. Your choices are essential to our next steps.

You can also vote for features and add new feature requests. If you’d like to share more detailed feedback or if you have any questions, we’re all ears: leave a comment here, drop us a line, or tweet @FormAssembly.

Feature Face-Off

FormAssembly Outage this Morning

Drew Buschhorn • February 7th, 2015

Hello,

We’ve just recovered from a long outage, and I wanted to share with you the cause and what we are doing to prevent a similar issue from happening again in the future. If you are an Enterprise FormAssembly user, your assigned instance was not affected and you should have not suffered any effects of the outage. This outage only affected users of the multi-tenant FormAssembly platform.

At 08:35am ET this morning as part of routine maintenance on our primary database server, we encountered a resource exhaustion that locked the database server to new data.  As a result, form respondents saw a message about technical issues occurring when they submitted responses until 9:10am this morning when we were able to remove the lock and move over to one of our backup servers.

During this time, no data was received from users.  Any responses that were submitted during this time were lost, and users saw the ‘technical issues’ error page.

In the future we will be adjusting our workflow in order to move to our secondary servers more quickly on discovering a problem of this nature.

 

I sincerely apologize for the disruption that this has caused you and your users.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at helpdesk@formassembly.com.

Drew Buschhorn
Head of Operations

 

Privacy Policy Changes

Deborah Kim • February 5th, 2015

privacy-policy

We’ve recently updated our Privacy Policy.

Note: Continued use of FormAssembly indicates your acceptance of our new policy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us.

Privacy Policy Changes

  • Contact: We’ve added a contact email address should you have any questions or concerns.
  • Disclosure: We’ve specified what types of personal information we collect (e.g., email) if you choose to use FormAssembly.
  • Disclosure: Certain information (e.g., browser type) is automatically gathered and stored if you visit our website.
  • Disclosure: If you have a FormAssembly account, you may not be able to opt out from service-related emails such as downtime notifications and security announcements.
  • Disclosure: We use Disqus to manage comments on this blog, and you may need to register to post a comment. Disqus is hosted by a third party and has its own Privacy Policy.
  • Disclosure: We’ve added a Tracking Technologies section which covers how we may use cookies, beacons, tags, and scripts in order to improve our service.