Forms

About Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is the WordPress plugin used for web form development and management. Build and design your WordPress forms using the visual form editor located in the WordPress Dashboard.

Gravity Forms are used to collect user data through contact forms, online surveys, registrations, and more. User data is stored in WordPress, and site admins can export the data to other formats (such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets).

Forms Requiring Workflow

Workflow functionality for Gravity Forms is not supported. The additional plugins required to support automated workflow functionality (such as sending data to a third-party application or requiring multiple approval steps) risk creating conflicts in Boise State’s WordPress environment

The University’s officially-supported system for forms requiring workflow is Perceptive.

Submit an OIT Project Request for Perceptive form development

Ecommerce Forms

Gravity Forms should not be used for eCommerce, and forms should never collect sensitive information like identification, student transcripts, or credit card numbers.

The University’s officially-supported system for all eCommerce services is Marketplace.

Submit a request for a Marketplace eCommerce store

Choose the University Forms Platform That’s Right for You

FeatureGravity FormsPerceptive FormsGoogle Forms
User AccessNo authenticationAuthenticatedMay restrict authentication to a single Boise State domain (employees or students)
Form DevelopmentFunctional user or WordPress SupportOIT DeveloperFunctional user
WorkflowNot availableAvailableNot available
ApprovalsNot availableTracked and recordedNot available
ComplexitySimple to moderateSimple to complexSimple
SecuritySubmissions stored within WordPress; available to WordPress administratorsSubmissions and attachments securely storedSubmissions stored in individual or team G Suite account
Form Storage/RetrievalForms stored by title and searchable by keywordsForms stored and searchable by key fieldsForms stored and searchable through Google Drive
ReportingLimitedAd-hoc reporting can be completed by functional userBasic; results are stored in a Google Sheet
Form Status VisibilityNoneForms status dashboard development in progressNone
Payment Integration (Heartland/TouchNet)NoneCan be integrated with Heartland payment solutionNone
Other IntegrationsWordPressCan be integrated with PeopleSoft or other software solutions with API capabilitiesNo integrations are supported by OIT; functional users may be able to leverage Google APIs to provide additional functionality

Security Issues

Create and Manage Forms

Best Practices

Do Not Enable ‘Require User to be Logged In’

Within your form’s settings will be an option to require users to be logged in to access the form. This feature conflicts with our layered authentication and VPN. If you have a need to restrict access to a form, please use Google Forms.

Do Not Enable ‘Enable Ajax’

When you add a form to a page, there will be a checkbox to ‘Enable Ajax.’ Do not use this feature, as it directly conflicts with the web standards styling that forms utilize in the Boise State environment and causes varying visual problems.

Do Not Enable 'Anti-Spam Honeypot'

Within your form’s settings will be an option to use an anti-spam honeypot. This feature should not be activated, as it occasionally conflicts with your form’s confirmation messages. Instead, please use the “CAPTCHA” field on each form, located under “Advanced Fields.”

  • NOTE: In general, these fields can be difficult for screen reader users. To assist, we recommend adding the following description: “Please check ‘I’m not a robot’ to verify CAPTCHA.”

Do Not Collect Sensitive Data

Do not collect SSN, passwords, transcripts, or financial data. For more information, visit the Information Security page.

Do Use Field Labels

Each field should include a field label, typically the first item on the general tab of each field. Without a field label on each field, a form is not considered web accessible.

Do Update Notification Settings

For each form published, it is advised to update the form’s notification settings under Settings > Notifications. Specifically, the “Send to” and “From” email addresses should be updated to specific emails that you would like to use. Using {admin_email} for any notification email is not recommended.

Form Settings

Configure Form Settings

The following setting recommendations are to improve overall accessibility of your form. Changing these settings before you add any fields to your form will ensure each field added to your form is following the default settings. Otherwise, you will need to change settings for each individual form field.

  1. Select Settings, then select Form Settings from the menu at the top of the page.
  2. In the Form Layout section, change Label Placement, Description Placement, and Sub-Label Placement to Top aligned or Above inputs.

New Form

Before you begin, we recommend outlining your form content and determining the types of fields you’d like to use to collect your information. Some field types are not recommended because they are currently inaccessible by screen readers.  Other fields require an additional accessibility statement. See Field Descriptions and Form Accessibility for more details.

Create a New Form

  1. Locate Forms, then select New Forms.
  2. Fill in the Create a New Form pop-up with Form Title and Form Description, then click the Create Form button.
  3. Select a field type from the Fields panels on the right. See Field Types below for more information about fields.
  4. Once you’ve found the field type you want, click to add it to the form editor on the left side of your screen.
  5. Click on the edit link to configure the various field options.
  6. Drag the fields to arrange them the way you prefer.
  7. When your form fields have all been added, click on the Update button to save.

Field Types

There are several types of fields available in Gravity Forms to collect information:

  1. Standard Fields provide basic form functionality and include fields like single line or paragraph text, checkboxes, and radio buttons. For more details and field descriptions see Gravity Forms Standard Fields.
  2. Advanced Fields are for specific uses. They enable advanced formatting of regularly used fields such as Name, Email, Address, etc. For more details and field descriptions see Gravity Forms Advanced Fields.

Field Descriptions and Form Accessibility

We have completed accessibility testing on all the available fields and have the following recommendations. Use the following information as a guide for the types of fields available for use. Please make note of which fields are recommended for accessibility.

Regardless of the type of field you use on a form, always include a brief field label to describe the purpose of the form field. Leaving the field label blank results in accessibility errors and in some cases can make the form completely unusable for your users.
Field NameUse or Do not useNotes on Accessibility
Single Line Text UseThe input mask option may introduce barriers to users with screen readers if they are using certain browsers. Recommend adding accessibility notice to beginning of form.
Paragraph Text UseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Paragraph Text field.
Drop Down UseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Drop Down field.
Multi SelectDo not useThe Multi Select field requires users interact with the form using a combination of keyboard and mouse to select the multiple options. For screen reader users, this also requires additional keystrokes to complete. We recommend using other fields, like checkboxes, to accomplish this task.
NumberUse - with cautionThe Number field functions, but it doesn’t alert users of an formatting error until after the form is submitted. If using this form, include explicit directions on how users should enter their information into the field.
Checkboxes UseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Checkboxes field.
Radio Buttons Use - with cautionSome of the radio buttons may have misplaced labels. In particular, be cautious when using the "other" option.
HiddenUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Hidden field.
HTMLUseAny content presented in an HTML field must meet Boise State web accessibility standards.
SectionUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Section field. In fact, this option can help to add structure to your form by breaking your content into different sections with headers.
PageUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Page field. Use this when you have a long form and you need to break up content into more manageable chunks. NOTE: Use Steps instead of Progress Bar to provide users with information about the different pages required on the form.
NameUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Name field.
DateUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Date field. It can be used with or without the calendar icon.
TimeUse - with cautionThe Time field is functional. However, at this time, it does appear to have a missing label on the AM/PM drop down box. This did not cause issues in our testing, but could present an error in your Siteimprove reports.
PhoneUseThe input mask option may introduce barriers to users with screen readers if they are using certain browsers. Recommend adding accessibility notice to beginning of form to alert users.
AddressUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Address field.
WebsiteUseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the Website field.
EmailUseThe Email field functions, but it doesn’t alert users of an formatting error until after the form is submitted, particularly if the Enable Email Confirmation option is selected.
File Upload UseAt this time there are no known accessibility concerns with the File Upload field.
CAPTCHAUse - with cautionThe CAPTCHA field is currently accessible, but in general, these fields can be difficult for screen reader users. To assist, we recommend adding the following description: "Please check 'I'm not a robot' to verify CAPTCHA."
ListDo not useThe "add/remove" additional row is completely inaccessible by keyboard navigation or screen readers. Contact Web Accessibility Team to discuss options if you require this sort of functionality on your form.

Create a page for your form

After you finish and save your form, there’s still one more step. You have to insert the form into a WordPress Page. The address you’ll use to direct people to the form will be the address of this new page you’re creating.

  1. Create a new page.
  2. Give this new page an appropriate title (maybe similar to the name of your form).
  3. It’s a good idea to provide some brief instructions for users so they know what to expect and if they need to retrieve any additional information prior to completing the form. You can add this as a brief paragraph immediately before your form. For example, let users know what fields are required, if they need any non-standard information like an ID number or payment details, how to submit the form, or an expected timeframe for follow up.
  4. Insert your form into the page. To do so, select Add Form and select your form.
  5. Unless you need them to display, uncheck the Display form title and Display form description options. This avoids adding duplicate information to your page.

Note: Forms should not be used in the subheader section of the Section Main Page template because there is not enough contrast between the background and the form field descriptions. Forms should go in page content areas only.

Link your new form page

Finally, create a link (or button) on your production site that will take the user to the page you’ve created. This page is the address for your form.

Confirmations

After people submit your form, we recommend they be automatically redirected back to your regular website. To do that, create a new page on your regular website; create this page first because you’ll need the address (permalink) of this page when creating the form.

Create a Form Confirmation

  1. Select Settings, then select Confirmations from the menu at the top of the page.
  2. Edit the Default Confirmations.
  3. For Confirmation Type, select Text, Page, or Redirect. Hover over the help tip to help you decide.
  4. Enter text or select a page or enter a URL.
  5. Click Save Confirmation to finish.

Notifications

You have the option of setting up one or more custom email notifications, which will automatically send an email message when a submission has been received.

Receive Form Notifications

  1. Configure notifications within a form by selecting Settings, then select Notifications.
  2. Edit Default Confirmation or Add New
  3. Enter Email(s) that you want the entry sent to. Note that using “admin_email” as the “Send To” email for the Notification will send all form notifications to the primary, default email address for the site (“Email Address” in Settings / General for the WordPress site). If you use admin_email as the “Send To” or “Reply To” address, ensure the default site email address is set to a person in your department. Submit a ticket to the Help Desk for assistance updating the primary site email address.
  4. When configuring email notifications, be sure the From Email field contains a valid Boise State email address. This will ensure your notifications are received correctly.
  5. Set up the Reply To field with the email address you would like to be used as the reply to address for the notification email. If your form has an email field you can select that field in the drop down Merge Tag menu. This allows the notification to dynamically populate the information that is filled out from the form entry.
  6. Ensure you are following Boise State web accessibility standards when drafting your email notifications.

Form Testing

It’s a good idea to test out your form and make sure it works correctly. Navigate to your form’s page, fill out the form, and submit it. You should be redirected to your confirmation page and, as the administrator of the form, receive an email at the address you entered into the configurations.

You should also be able to complete every step of your form using the keyboard alone. If you experience difficulty completing the form without a mouse your users will as well.

You can also check the accessibility of your form by using either the Siteimprove or WAVE browser extensions. Questions about form accessibility can be directed to the OIT Web Accessibility Team at OITAccessibility@boisestate.edu.

Manage Entries

In addition to sending an email to the administrator when a form is submitted, Gravity Forms keeps a record of the submissions as Entries. You can access these entries by selecting the form you’re interested in and then clicking on the Entries option.

Depending on what information is useful for you, you can add, remove, or sort by fields in the list of entries.

Forms Cleanup

When a form is no longer in use, we recommend deleting it along with any related entries.

If a form is going to be used again but has finished for the moment (e.g. an annual conference registration), you may want to delete the existing entries to avoid confusion. You can also deactivate the form using the green toggle in the Forms screen or selecting “Mark as Inactive” in the Bulk Actions drop down menu. When it’s time to make the form available again, simply reactivate it and make sure users can find a link to its page.