Webforms: An Easy Way to Collect Data
We’ve all used some type of web form before, from subscribing to a newsletter to giving feedback or entering a contest. Whenever you need to extract information from your visitor, use a form, because it’s the easiest way to collect that information for analysis.
The GeorgiaGov platform makes it easy to collect needed information from users because we have a built-in Webform content type. This feature has the usability of our easier content types such as the site page, but includes added features that allow you to collect the data you need.
Some of the obvious features include components that allow for the collection of email addresses, comments, or the rating of an experience. A prime example of this feature is when we use a web form survey to elicit feedback from our training classes.
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust uses forms to collect submission requests for tickets to their exhibits. In fact, Emma Ellingson, the Commission’s content manager, says:
Honestly it is my favorite feature and makes everything I do so much easier and organized!
That’s right! Web forms make data collection simple because you are also able to export your collected data into an Excel spreadsheet or CSV for further analysis.
But web forms do have their limitations. Although the GeorgiaGov platform has built-in security measures for collecting data, we strongly advise our constituents to not include Social Security number collection or sensitive data. The GeorgiaGov platform has an option for secure web forms that allow you to create a forced https web form for secure communication and submissions through your website.
Submissions through the secured web form are stored in a way that only authorized and authenticated users can view the results. Specified form fields can also be marked as encrypted, adding further security where only authorized users with encryption access can view the results of those encrypted fields.
While the secure web forms feature sends sensitive data over an https connection, I want to stress that they are not HIPAA compliant and should not be used to gather information such as Social Security and personally identifiable information. We actually have an alert box installed that will inform users to not send sensitive information through the web form.
If you would like further information on creating web forms or secure web forms, please contact the Digital Services Georgia team or visit our website, which has lots of useful information. And remember, practice web safety and don’t send out your sensitive information!