#4: Creating a Custom Form
The Member Assembler Custom Form allows you to collect more specific information about your customers in order for you to learn more about them. This can help to inform your decisions about your CSA or membership program so that it can better meet the needs of your members. Here are some examples of the kinds of information you can gather using your Custom Form:
• Collect preferred product information so you
can grow/produce what your customers want.
• Get email addresses of potential new customers from member referrals.
• Gauge your members' interest in volunteering.
• Allow for a "comments" or "notes" section.
• Test the popularity of new pickup locations.
...or anything else you would like to find out!
Your Custom Form will be included as a step in your Membership Sign-up process. A Custom Form on a Small Farm Central website could look something like this:
Figure 1. A Form on a Small Farm Central website.
This article will cover the basics of creating a Custom Form including:
You will be creating a Custom Form in the Control Panel. Log in and
Member Assembler > Configure > Custom Forms
This will take you to the "Manage Custom Form" page. Click on
the “Create New Form Item” link to create the first
item on your form. See below:
Figure 2. The Manage Custom Form page with Create New Form Item link highlighted.
Your Custom Form is broken down into "form items". Each item
includes the "item text" and the "item type." Sometimes the "item
type" will have "options" to choose from. The "Create New Form
Item" page is where you will configure the items in your form. See
Figure 3. Create New Form Items page.
Let's begin with the "item text." This is the question or statement what you would like to get a customer response from, such as: “What products are you interested in?” Type your "item text" in the box.
Form Item Type determines the format of the answer to the
question that you wrote in the "item text" box.
The drop-down menu gives you five "item type" options:
Single-line text gives the user an open text box to enter a response to your question text. This is good for short answers to open-ended queries. See below:
*Figure 4. Single-line Text Item Type*
Multi-line text is much the same as single-line text, except the user is given a larger text box. This is good to
suggests that a longer answer is expected and is often used for "comments" or "notes" written by the customer. See below:
Figure 5. Multi-line Text Item Type
Radio Buttons give the user a pre-defined set of responses, but only one choice can be
selected at a time. You will use the “Form Options” text field as described below to set the response options.
Figure 6. Radio Button Text Item Type
Checkboxes are like “Radio Buttons, but the user is allowed to enter multiple responses for one question. Often it is helpful to add the disclaimer "Check all that apply" to let the customer know that they can choose more than one answer. You will use the “Form Options” text field as described below to set the response options. See below:
Figure 7. Checkboxes Text Item Type
Yes/No gives the user a pair of radio buttons (as described above), but there only two options:
Yes or No. See below:
Figure 8. Yes/No Text Item Type
The next part of the form asks for Form Options. This only applies to responses of the Checkbox or Radio Button item types; if you are selecting one of the other types, just leave the Form Option field blank.
The “Form Options” text box allows you to specify the options that you will allow the customer to choose from when responding to your query. Each option should be entered with a comma to delineate the separate response options. For example: To create the Checkbox response shown above, you would type into the “Form Options” textbox: cheese, eggplant, milk, sweet corn. This is also shown in Figure 3.
The weight setting determines the order that the Form Items will be listed. Lower or "lighter" weights will float items to the top of the list, while larger or "heavier" weights will sink items to the bottom. So, if you wanted a form item to show up at the top of the list, you would set a weight of -10. If you wanted a form item to show up at the bottom of the list, you would select a weight of 10.
Weights are used throughout the Small Farm Central Control Panel for putting lists in order. To learn more about them, read the "Assigning Menu Weight" article in the Website Tools section in the Knowledge Base.
If you want to make sure that your customers respond to a particular question or item in your form, just check the “Response Required” checkbox when you create the item. This tool creates an error message which will show up if the user does not respond to the query. It will also block the customer from proceeding with the membership sign-up process until a response has been entered.
When you are finished, click the
button and you will return to the Manage Custom
Form Page. Repeat the steps above to create all of your form
• If a Form Item is no longer useful to you and you do not
want users to answer it anymore, just
click the Form Item's disable button on the Manage Custom Form page
(Member Assembler > Configure > Custom Forms). Disabling the item will keep the entered data in your system, but will hide the item from new sign-ups.
• Once you have a lot of data in your custom forms, you may
want to manipulate it in an outside
program. You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the custom forms responses by clicking on the "Export Responses to Excel" link on the Manage Custom Form page or by navigating
to: *Member Assembler > Export*
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