When you design an inquiry form, you add sections that let you collect information from an inquiry in a methodical, orderly way. There are three kinds of sections: headings, text blocks, and fields. Headings and text blocks let you organize and explain the different sections of your inquiry form. Fields let you collect information from the inquiry. There are several field input types (Text, Number, Yes/No, etc.) that let you ask different kinds of questions as appropriate. You can also set up inquiry form fields that link directly to information fields elsewhere in Populi and conditional fields that appear only when an inquiry has entered a particular answer for a previous field. After adding sections to your form, you'll then take a look at its settings.
Adding a new form
To create a new inquiry form, go to Admissions > Settings > Inquiry Forms. Click Add an Inquiry Form, give it a name, and click Save. You'll be taken to the form's Design page.
Designing your form
Inquiry forms, when first created, contain three fields: Name, Email, and Message. At minimum, your form must contain the Name and Email fields—you could delete the Message field, but why would you want to do that? Beyond that, you're free to add and organize sections to your heart's content, though we strongly recommend brevity: inquiry forms are meant to initiate a conversation between a student and your school. Set up your form so it captures only the information you need to get this conversation started.
- Inquiry forms include a visual captcha panel that appears only when there is a suspicious level of traffic hitting a particular form. The vast majority of times, your inquiries will not see it.
Adding and modifying sections
An inquiry form section is a heading, text block, or field. To add a new section, click one of the action links at the bottom.
- Click to add a new section below another.
- Click and drag to reorder the inquiry form's sections.
- Click to edit the section; you can't change a field's type, but you can change everything else...
- Click to delete a section. There's no undo!
- As you design the inquiry form, click Preview Form to see what the inquiry form will look like to people who fill it out.
Headings and text
Simple, really: click to add a heading or text block, enter your text, and save.
There are a few kinds of inquiry form fields:
- Regular ol' fields let you collect nearly any kind of information you'd like from an inquiry.
- Linked fields let you collect information that feeds directly into various built-in and custom Populi fields; when you add the inquiry as a person or link it to a person, the inquiry's response updates the corresponding field on the person's profile.
- Conditional fields appear to the inquiry depending on her answer to a previous field (you can also create conditional headings, text blocks, and pages).
Click one of the Add field options to create a new inquiry form field. Fill in the components and options and Save.
Fields include the following components and options:
- Field name: A very brief summary or description of the information you seek to collect through this field (e.g. "Home address", "Degree Interest", etc.).
- Field description: Instructions for completing the field, or a detailed explanation of the information you're seeking from the inquiry.
- Input type: The format of the information you're seeking from the inquiry—text, yes/no, address, etc. See below for details about each of the different input types and how to use them. Important: Input type is not editable! When you choose the type for a field, you cannot change it later!
- Hidden: The field will not be visible to inquires; rather, it is meant for your own internal use—Admissions users can fill in the field when processing the inquiry form.
- Required: Inquiries can't complete a form without entering something in all of the required fields. If a field is not required, then it will be optional.
The different answer types let you collect information from the inquiry in a variety of ways.
- Short answer: Creates small text-entry field that accepts letters, numbers, and punctuation.
- Paragraph: Gives inquiries a large text-entry area in which to compose or copy-paste a longer answer.
- Multiple choice/Dropdown: Inquiries must choose one option from a list; the difference between these two is the user interface.
- Checkboxes: These fields let inquiries choose one or more options from a list. For example, you could ask the inquiry to check off three desired extracurricular activities from a list of eight. Enter how many answers the inquiry may select (he can select up to this amount), and then enter as many option names as you need.
- Yes/No: Gives inquiries two options for an answer. I will let you guess what they are. If you really get stuck, feel free to email Populi support. We will help you out, but we will also have a good chuckle at your expense here at the office.
- Likert: Lets inquiries evaluate a number of individual items or statements on some sort of sliding scale. To set up this type of field:
- Select a number of labels(in the example, the options along the top).
- Enter the names of the labels (Good, Poor, etc.).
- Statements are the items you want your students to evaluate (the left column in the example). Enter as many statements as you like.
- Date: Lets inquiries enter a date using Populi's standard date/time field.
- Number/Decimals: Number/decimal fields restrict the inquiry's answer to a numerical value.
- Country/State/Province: Applicants choose countries or state/provinces from a dropdown list.
- File upload: Lets inquiries upload a file (say, a photo or a document). You can also specify a maximum number of files the inquiry can upload to this field.
- Signature: Applicants can type or draw their signature in the field.
Here's how to add a linked field to your inquiry form.
- Select Add a linked field from the Add Field options.
- Choose the field you'd like to ask for.
- Fill in the remaining field details and Save.
Here's how these fields work:
- The inquiry's input options for these fields will be identical to that of the existing field. For example, if you link to an address field, the inquiry will see a standard address-entry field.
- The inquiry submits an answer for this field.
- When you link the inquiry form to a person, the inquiry's response will automatically transfer over to the linked field on his profile.
Conditional fields (and headings and text blocks, too)
Conditional fields remain hidden to the inquiry unless he answers a previous field in a particular way.
- Conditional fields can only be tied to fields with pre-set answer input options—Multiple Choice, Checkboxes, Dropdown, and Yes/No. If you don't have a field with one of those input types, you will not see the Conditional option when adding a new field.
- Conditional fields can be regular or linked fields.
- They're set up just like other fields except that you can create conditions that specify when they'll appear to inquiries.
- You can also create conditional headings, text blocks, and pages—for each, creating conditions works as described just below.
Here's how to add a conditional field:
- Add a new field—either a regular field or a linked one and fill in its details.
- Check next to Conditional; your options for conditions will open up.
- Choose whether to show the field when any or all of the conditions are met.
- Choose the field and answer option(s) that will summon the conditional field. You can add additional conditions to form a condition group, as well as additional condition groups.
After designing your form, review the settings to control how it will be available to inquiries.
- Published: Unless a form has been published, you cannot use it to collect inquiries.
- Text Messaging: Select Yes to enable text messaging for this form. When you do this:
- Inquiries initiated on this form will be able to be continued via text messaging.
- Phone number fields will ask if the phone number entered is okay to be used for text messaging.
- Custom CSS: If you're going to embed the inquiry form in a different site—say, your school's public-facing website—you can enter CSS in this field to make the form's appearance (and the Thank you message—see below) match that of the other site. Only use this if you know what you're doing with CSS! If you enter bad CSS, it could make the form unusable.
- Thank you message: Enter a custom message to display after the inquirer submits the form.
- Redirect URL: Enter the URL for a site to which the inquirer will be sent after seeing the Thank You message.
- Embed code: This appears only after you publish the form. See below for detailed instructions...
Using the embed code
Published forms can be embedded in other websites. To do so, you'll need to insert the form's embed code within the HTML of that other site. Here's how to generate an embed code.
- Select one of your Lead Sources from the drop-down, and then a Program as well.
- When you do that, the embed code in the text area will modify itself to reflect your selections. (The code also updates whenever you modify the form itself—say, you add a couple new fields and remove an old one.)
- Copy and paste the embed code into the HTML of the page in which you'd like to include the form.
- You can also preview the form by clicking the link below the text area.