Web Services

Form Control | Web services blog

We recently received an email from one of our suppliers, Form Assembly.

Form Assembly creates web forms. You may not have known but you may have seen their product Here, Here AND Here.

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

As you may have noticed, we are in an era of great change. It makes sense in our website relaunch plan to try to improve the way we implement forms

So we started looking into requirements for a new forms tool. To do this, however, we need to do a check of the modules we currently have. This also allows us to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by 25 May 2018.
In addition to this, we can understand which modules are available and if they are still needed. Basically, an old-fashioned cleanup.

In doing so, we reached out to owners of forms that, for example, hadn’t received a response for a while, and started archiving any outdated or outdated forms. Out of 316 modules, we quickly split this into:

There are 178 active modules, 10 under development and 128 modules that have now been archived!

So, using this as a basis, what does our current stock of web forms look like?

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

Compliance

To define the levels of information compliance, reference is made to the definitions of information compliance of the University as a convenient starting point. They fall into three categories: open, private, and confidential – as you can imagine, access to the information contained within is more limited with each one. So what’s our compliance range like?

As you can see, the majority of our active forms are Open (i.e. information considered public or unclassified) and our second largest number are Confidential forms (i.e. information that is sensitive and normally prohibited from sharing except under strictly defined circumstances and limited) with a relative handful as Private (i.e. information whose dissemination is normally limited, for example to members of the University, its partners, suppliers or affiliates). While there are two dominant types, whichever product we choose must be able to cope with these levels of information compliance.

Complexity

While forms can sometimes look very simple from the outside (it’s just a few boxes and text, right?), often, in the backend, things can be a little more complicated.
We have divided this definition into basic forms and advanced forms.
This ended up with a pretty close split right in the middle:

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

Departments

We have an even distribution of departments using forms. Some departments use them more than others. In a blatant case of favoritism, here are our Top 3!

The winners are our friends across the hall Admissions with 30 shapes. Both Access and Participation AND UoD IT tied to 19 modules. Valiantly bringing up the rear are our colleagues from Library and Learning Center with 13 forms.

This completes our initial hunches about our form verification. All of this will play into our needs as we look into products that can perform this function the brand new website.