6 Tips for Social Solutions Apricot Software Secure Web Forms

Category: Database Admin Forms

Secure web forms are a standard feature in Social Solutions Apricot™ software. Secure web forms collect data through publicly accessible online forms and enter the collected data directly into your Apricot database. Anyone can enter data through an Apricot secure web form, even those without an Apricot login. Apricot secure web forms save time and streamline data entry, and most Apricot users can benefit from web forms in some capacity.

Applications for Apricot secure web forms

The applications for web forms are nearly limitless, which is why they are a valuable Apricot feature.

  • Surveys – Set up an anonymous client feedback survey.
  • Referrals – Collect incoming program referrals from community partners.
  • Applications, profiles, and intake – Gather application data from program participants.
  • Contact us – Save website inquiries in Apricot.
  • Event registration – Collect event registration details from attendees.
  • Internal user report requests – Gather report requests in a single location for triage.
  • Internal user questions and support – Develop an internal help desk for Apricot questions and feedback.

How to setup Apricot secure web forms

Only Tier 1 forms can become secure web forms. You will need a published Tier 1 form and a sample user account with a permission set that can create new records for that Tier 1 form in order to deploy a new secure web form. Once these elements are set up, each form is constructed in the administrator tab of your Apricot database.

Take secure web forms to the next level with these six tips and best practices.

  • 1. Add email triggers for submissions

    Add two email triggers to each secure web form.

    • One email trigger should notify the web form user that you received the web form submission.
    • Another email trigger should notify someone in your organization of a new web form submission.

    Add an email field to the web form where the web form user can enter their email address. Dynamically send the confirmation email to the user of the form via the user’s email address (submitted through the email field). Set the reply to email address of the email trigger as an internal staff member so the web form user can contact your organization if needed.

    The second email trigger notifies your organization of a new submission. The email message can include details about the web form submission. From the email notification, an internal user can review the submission in the email or login to Apricot and view the new record.

  • 2. Simplify the duplicate check field

    Secure web forms like any Tier 1 form require a duplicate check field(s). The duplicate check system in Apricot can negatively impact the usability of secure web forms if it isn’t set up properly.

    If you don’t know what fields to use as duplicate checks or if there is the possibility a web form user might create a duplicate record, select the Record ID for the Tier 1 form as the duplicate check. This is a foolproof way to eliminate the potential for duplicates and create a unique record for every web form submission.

  • 3. Use form logic for data entry

    Apricot secure web forms should be simple and straightforward to use. Web form users will bounce from your form if it is complicated or burdensome. Streamline and simplify Apricot secure web forms with form logic.

    Hide the majority of fields on a web form or hide entire sections. Open sections and fields as the user completes data entry in the form. You can even use instructional flags like “Step 1 of 5” to identify a user’s location in process of completing the form. Keep the user’s focus narrow and only unhide new data entry requirements as they progress through the form.

    Form logic not only helps with user navigation and workflow, but also promotes good data quality. Web form data quality is a constant concern, but form logic can dictate data entry requirements so users enter data correctly.

  • 4. Add instructions with HTML fields

    In addition to form logic, provide instructions to web form users. Use “Label (HTML)” fields for instructions and alerts in the form design.

    Label (HTML) fields are infinitely customizable. You can provide basic instructions in these fields or add links, tables, and other custom elements that enhance the web form experience.

  • 5. Implement data quality reviews

    Submissions through secure web forms can negatively impact data quality. Users submitting data through web forms aren’t trained on your organization’s data entry standards. Even with instructions and form logic, the most proficient web form user can still enter data incorrectly or inaccurately.

    Implement two data quality procedures with secure web forms.

    1. Implement an initial screen of all incoming web form submissions. You can do this with an email trigger that notifies internal staff members of a new submission.
    2. Implement weekly or monthly manual data quality reviews. Set up a report that shows all submissions within a date range. Then browse the submissions and look for errors. Go through each record one at a time or set up dependent filters that look for common data entry errors.
  • 6. Use one permission set for all web forms

    Apricot software is flexible and customizable. Due to its flexibility, set up Apricot so it scales up as your organization grows or your data requirements change. Scaling Apricot software requires systems that allow you to quickly add new web forms without spending hours on setup.

    Apricot secure web forms require a sample user with limited permissions to create Tier 1 records. The sample user is a scalable system for new web forms. Create a single web form sample user in your Apricot database. That user will have access to web forms only. Then add new “create record” permissions for each new Tier 1 form you create as a secure web form. Use the same permission set for each new secure web form.

Actionable hacks to get more from secure web forms

Social Solutions Apricot software secure web forms will save you time and simplify data capture from online sources. You can replace online survey software, some online web form solutions, and even replace your fax machine (that you use for referrals and other paper forms) with Apricot secure web forms. Learn more in the webinar and slides below.


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