10 ways AEM Forms is better than Google Forms – Part 1

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AEM Adaptive Form

COVID-19 has proven that going digital, especially with your Forms, is a must-have. Whether it is a simple COVID-19 declaration form from your employees or more complex forms such as new employee onboarding forms, plain old printed forms are not going to cut it. In fact, printed forms are also arcane. Fillable PDF forms have been around for a while and Adobe Acrobat DC from Adobe’s Document Cloud solution helps to a certain degree. But organizations that truly want to embrace a post covid, modern, digital forms automation solution need to take it a step further.

In this blog we discuss how Adobe Forms, also known as AEM Forms takes on light-weights like Google Forms and does it better. We will discuss 10 features that AEM Adaptive Forms offer and how it helps organizations truly live up to a modern, digitized environment that customers and employees alike appreciate.

1. Simplicity

Simplicity in creating forms and making them available easily for your users is an essential feature for a forms builder application. In that sense, Google Forms makes it super-easy, with standar fields. But so does AEM Adaptive Forms. And like Google Forms, AEM Adaptive Forms provides easy drag-drop features to add various field types and adjust the layout. But what if your form layout needs to change based on screen size – like on a mobile device vs a large desktop? And what if you have dozens of forms that need to re-use form fields (like say, the address field)? AEM Adaptive Forms makes it simple to create simple as well as not-so-simplistic forms.

With Adobe’s Adaptive Forms, you can build forms that simultaneously suit your desktop user and a mobile user. You can drag-drop simple fields, groups of fields, rich-text fields, signature fields, image and document upload fields and much more with ease. Can Google Forms do that? Google lets you get started real quick, but you hit road-blocks once you start adding features.

2. Security

Other than anonymous surveys, most forms request personal and often sensitive information from users. While first and last name are ubiquitous, asking for SSN or Health related information is not uncommon. And this leads to common security questions – for form users, hosting providers as well as consumers of the form data. So, how secure are the forms? Where is this user data going to be stored? How is it going to be transmitted? Who will it be shared? How is the data protected from malicious actors?

These are all very valid questions to be asked. With Google Forms, there are several concerns, so much so that Google itself asks the form builder for a waiver when collecting email addresses.

With Adobe’s AEM Adaptive Forms, you may decide to host the application in an Adobe Managed, Amazon AWS Cloud or Microsoft Azure Cloud. Or, for even more security, like what some of our Government clients use, an on-premise AEM environment that is totally controlled within an organization’s own data center. This allows organizations with AEM Forms licene to control how form data is captured, collected and transmitted. In addition, with AEM Forms and Adobe Sign integration you could kick this up a notch by allowing 2-factor authentication of form data users. This is a level of security that no other forms application currently offers.

3. Conditional Logic

Adding simple validation to individual fields is often provided by Form applications including Google Forms. But most fail to provide advanced features like validation logic across fields or conditional logic like show/hide of fields based on dynamic criteria. For example, if you would like to display certain fields if a certain drop-down value is selected. Or what if that conditional logic were to depend on some data entry that needs to be checked against a back-end database?

The reason this is complicated is because of how form fields are stored in the application. With AEM Forms, form-fields are stored in AEM Java Content Repository (JCR) which is a hierarchical database with object relational model (ORM). This allows AEM Adaptive Forms to provide rich features with endless possibilities for data validation and conditional logic.

4. Multi-page Forms

One of the main reasons for users to abandon form submission is because of usability. Users find forms that are cluttered to be overwhelming and abandon them. Having sections within forms is one way to mitigate this problem. However, there are often cases – especially with on-boarding forms that can contain scores of form fields to be segregated into multiple pages.

All fields within a Google form – and also with a lot of other form products only allow fields in a single page. AEM Adaptive Forms take this to the next level by providing forms consisting of multiple fields. Additionally, these pages can be stitched together with logic to make the user experience easy and meaningful.

AEM Forms allows forms to be segregated in multiple ways. For example, one client’s new hire onboarding form had nearly 100 fields to be filled out. A survey found that their applicant rates were dropping significantly over time. Autowoven worked with the client to provide an end-to-end Forms automation process and increased applicant rates significantly. One of the key aspects of this automation involved migrating to dynamic AEM Forms with multiple pages that were stitched in a wizard like format. Combined with other features this provided a key win to the client.

5. Forms landing pages/ Form Portal

When thinking of Forms, it is important to take a step back and take a holistic approach across the organization. Mature organizations seek a Forms automation solution where a Form is just the beginning of a user’s journey. Imagine hiring a new employee. It starts with an application form, followed typically by a background check form, a personal data form, etc. prior to being hired. And the journey continues after being hired with HR forms and benefits forms, etc. You want to make these forms easy to fill – with pre-fill services. And you want the user to keep track of their own journey too.

At the onset, these appear like simple requirements – but can quickly turn into a forms management nightmare. What you need to simplify such a data journey is a Forms product that offers a rich platform where the form is just the start.

AEM Forms provides an out-of-box Forms Portal solution. The AEM Forms Portal, with it’s back-bone in AEM Site, offers a rich portal experience that can be customized endlessly. It provides out of box search features, saving and retrieval of draft forms, form submission and tracking capabilities. These features are way beyond what Google Forms provides. It’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Honda.

Interested in reading about the other features? Check out Part 2 of this blog post (coming soon) or click below to learn more.

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