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Using website forms

Allow for online submissions on your website

An online form is a great way to connect directly with your website visitors and help them accomplish a task on your site. The Marketing web team uses an 'in-house' software called Machforms to build website forms. Data and information collected is stored on servers in the Abbotsford campus and no information is stored in the 'cloud'.

Good uses for a web form:

  • Request information

  • Book an appointment

  • Ask questions

  • RSVP to an event

  • Apply for a contest

  • Give feedback

When to avoid web forms

Never use a web form to gather private details from students, staff, or the public. Your form shouldn’t be used to collect financial information such as a credit card number or social insurance number, or personal information related to health.

How to add a form to your UFV website


Make a mock-up of your form

Create a rough draft of your form in a Word or Google document. What information will your form capture? Which fields will be required and which optional? Should they be multiple choice? A small text box? A large text box? Do you need your form to show or hide some questions depending on user answers? Taking the time to think through the details will speed up the process.


Tips for creating user-friendly forms:

  • Explain the form’s purpose. Briefly explain the form’s value for both the user and you, as well as how their information will be used.

  • Keep it short. Research shows the longer your form, the more likely users are to abandon it without submitting. Stick to what’s necessary.

  • Make it easy. Use multiple choice and checkbox questions to speed up the process.

  • Use multiple choice over drop-down. A drop-down requires two user interactions: one to reveal the drop-down, and one to choose. Multiple choice is quicker for the user.

  • Don’t require every question. If possible, give users choices about what info they give you. Only require questions that are absolutely essential.

  • Include 1-2 text box questions, max. Ideally make these questions optional and put them at the end of your form rather than the beginning.


Consider notifications

Jot down ideas about what happens after the form is submitted. Keep in mind these elements are all part of the user experience. Wording, tone, clarity — all these will have an impact on your form user.

  • What message should show on the screen after the user clicks submit?

  • Should the user receive a custom email message about their submission? What should it say? It’s a good practice to let people know how long it will be before they should expect a reply.

  • Who should receive email notifications when someone submits your form?


Make a plan for your form data

You have the option to collect form data in your email inbox as it comes in, or to receive a spreadsheet export from the web team at regular intervals, or both. What is your preference?

Your form’s privacy notice

Your form will include a privacy notice to reassure users their data will be handled carefully. Please choose a team member who will handle inquiries about how you are treating user information, and provide the web team with that person’s contact info.


A sample collection notice:

Collection notice: The personal information requested on this form is collected under the authority of the University Act, and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The information will only be used for ------------ purposes. Please direct any questions about this collection to ------- at UFV ----------- at ---------@ufv.ca or at [insert phone number].

More information on Privacy

BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

If you have additional questions about forms, please email myweb@ufv.ca.


Submit your form request

Once you’re ready, please submit a web service request for creating a new web form.

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