Form audit

Recently, we received an email from one of our suppliers, Form Assembly.

Form Assembly do web forms. You may not have known it but you might have seen their product here, here and here.

In essence, we build the form in Form Assembly and then through an elaborate array of levers and pulleys, it ends up on the website.

As you may have noticed, we’re in an era of big change. In our plan to relaunch the website it makes sense that we look to improve the way we implement forms

So we’ve started looking into the requirements for a new forms tool. In order to do that, however, we need to do an audit of the forms we currently have. This also allows us to ensure that we are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in time for 25 May 2018.
In addition to this, we get to get a handle on what forms are out there and whether they are still needed. Essentially, an old fashioned clear out.

In doing so, we contacted owners of forms which, say, hadn’t had a response in a while and set about archiving any outdated or obsolete forms. Out of 316 forms, we quickly divided this into:

That’s 178 active forms, 10 in development and a whole 128 forms which have now been archived!

 

So using this as our basis, how does our current web form estate look?

The main areas that we’re defining are the department using the form, the nature of the form’s information compliance and the complexity of how the forms are built.

Compliance

In order to define the levels of information compliance, we’ve deferred to the University’s information compliance definitions as a handy place to start. They fall into three categories: Open, Private and Confidential – as you can imagine, access to the information held within is more restricted with each one. So what is our range of compliance like?

As you can see, the majority of our active forms are Open (i.e. information considered public or unclassified) and our second largest amount being Confidential forms (i.e. information which is sensitive and dissemination is normally prohibited except within strictly defined and limited circumstances) with a relative handful as Private (i.e. information where dissemination is normally restricted e.g. to members of the University, its partners, suppliers or affiliates). While there are two dominant types, whatever product we go for has to be able to cope with these levels of information compliance.

Complexity

While forms can sometimes look very simple from the outside (it’s just some boxes and text, right?), often, in the backend, things can be a bit more complicated.
We’ve split this definition into basic forms and advanced forms.
This ended up with a near-enough split right down the middle:

We have 98 basic forms (forms where you just fill in some boxes and hit submit) and 80 advanced forms. Advanced forms are defined as anything that features a conditional field (for example, this would be a Yes or No question where you get different questions based on whether you answered Yes or No). Whatever product we go for has to be able to deal with this complexity.

Departments

We have an even spread of departments who use forms. Some departments use them more than others. In a blatant case of favouritism, here’s our Top 3!

The winners are our pals across the foyer in Admissions with 30 forms. Both Access and Participation and UoD IT tied at 19 forms. Valiantly bringing up the rear are our colleagues in the Library and Learning Centre with 13 forms.

This brings to a close our initial insights into our form audit. All of this will play a part in our requirements as we look into products that can fulfil this function on the brand new website.

Written by:

Gary came to the University of Dundee in 2006 to study English & Film Studies.

After graduating in 2010, Gary returned in 2014 and in 2017 joined the Web Services team as Web Support Assistant.

When not tackling support requests, Gary can be found wandering aimlessly around campus. If found, return to Caroline Petrie.

Written by:

Once described as 'unapproachable and rude to children', Pete nevertheless strives towards the goal of making the content of our website more friendly, readable, and useful for our visitors. Surprisingly handy with a drill.

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