It’s not often that you see a website that doesn’t have some kind of form to capture user data. Forms often act as a key part of the funnel that translates an anonymous browser into a person of interest to your company. Anyone who has felt the frustration of a poorly designed form will attest to the importance of getting them right.
Sitecore’s latest form module, ‘Sitecore Forms’ is a welcomed addition for many content marketers that use the platform as it brings an evolved functionality with an out of the box deployment. But why should Sitecore marketers care about this new module, if they have Web Forms For Marketers (WFFM) already? What’s new and what’s are the benefits?
Firstly, is WFFM now called Sitecore Forms?
No. They are different in many ways. However, they do serve the same purpose – to allow content managers to quickly design, deploy and optimise the forms on a website. You can still download WFFM for Sitecore 9. You get Sitecore Forms out of the box.
So that begs the question: Why?
Well you may have invested a lot of time and money in WFFM. You may have built (or asked us to build) bespoke form fields and save actions. If you had to re-do all that work to upgrade to Sitecore 9 then that may have proven a significant stumbling block.
Whilst there is a lot of overlap in terms of field types and save actions between WFFM and Sitecore Forms, they are not like for like products. Sitecore Forms is a little more limited out of the box in terms of field and actions than WFFM. We suspect this to change very soon though.
Is it time to say goodbye to WFFM?
Sitecore has been helping content editors create, deploy and monitor form usage since version 6. It’s an add-on module that has been installed on thousands of Sitecore platforms and can be used with Sitecore 9, so it’s not time to say goodbye just yet.
Over the years WFFM has undergone several rounds of modifications to make it work with other parts of the platform that have changed significantly. Regardless of these updates, WFFM has still become dated in some areas.
The user interface (UI) is definitely one of these areas. The interface to design forms has remained largely unchanged since its early days. When you consider the UI transformation that happened between Sitecore 7 and 8, it’s easy to understand how WFFM now feels out of date.
There are areas of functionality that haven’t kept pace with the changing landscape of websites. Take multi-step forms for example. A tonne of usability research has gone into form design and the consensus is now to split long forms into multiple stages, with clear indications of progress through the stages. This was very difficult to achieve in WFFM.
When Sitecore announced Sitecore Forms as part of Sitecore 9 we were really excited. Even with several Sitecore 9 builds under our belts now our enthusiasm hasn’t waned.
What does Sitecore Forms offer?
The interface is a huge improvement – it is intuitive, has advanced drag and drop functionality and is in-keeping with the rest of Sitecore. It is built using Sitecore’s SPEAK (Sitecore Process Enablement & Accelerator Kit) framework along with the rest of the platform, so it looks and feels like the rest of the software.
Multi-step forms are a huge improvement from WFFM. Sitecore Forms give you the ability to define and build complex multi-step forms in a handy drag and drop style interface.
The analytics that gives you visibility of the performance of your forms is greatly improved too. In addition to form level reporting, you can now report on the performance of individual fields. So, at a glance you will be able to identify any fields that are causing a higher than average drop-off, or taking users longer to fill in. Previously you would have needed to rely on a third-party tool for this level of insight.
As standard to the platform, Sitecore Forms is an extensible and modifiable module. If it doesn’t do what you need to do out of the box, get in touch with us at UNRVLD, and we can build it for you.
Which one is right for me?
If you are new to Sitecore or are adding forms to your build for the first time, then Forms is the best product for you. We see no benefit in installing WFFM in Sitecore 9 for new builds. Ultimately WFFM has a limited shelf-life. Although it may be supported for the next few versions at least, it is unlikely to get new features and will eventually need replacing.
If you are considering a Sitecore upgrade and you have an extensive library of forms, with custom fields, save actions or integrations, then you may find the effort of overhauling all this functionality too much. Therefore, WFFM is still right for you (for now). At some point you’ll need to think about migrating. You may want to draw a line and only maintain existing forms in WFFM, then use Sitecore Forms for the creation of all new forms.