There are countless options available to help you create a form for your website or email campaign.
But you don’t need to go through a list of 29 different options of tools which do almost exactly the same thing.
What you want is to see the best tools for building forms which work and are enjoyable for your users or respondents to use.
That’s why we at Process Street have decided to analyze our 3 favorite form builders to understand exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what use cases they’re best suited to.
Many of our users utilize Process Street for building forms for collecting customer data, consumer feedback, or undertaking market research, so we’ve heard a great deal about what businesses are looking for from form builders and survey tools!
- Ease of use
Your survey reflects your brand
Like your website and your product, all material you send to customers or potential customers reflects your company.
You’ve likely spent a great deal of time, effort, and money making sure your branding captures the nuance of your company and appeals to your core demographics. As such, the design of your survey should fit within your brand identity design.
One of the real selling points of Typeform is its aesthetic appeal and how easy it is to customize this to suit your needs. For a startup or a small company, this is a great way to create beautiful forms and surveys without taking up a great deal of time for a designer or developer. Typeform can be both professional and playful depending on how you choose to set it up.
More than that, the UX of Typeform surveys are pleasing and highly intuitive. Smooth transitions and varied layouts provide enough to keep the participant engaged and the process feels like it flows from question to question.
The only criticism of Typeform from a design perspective might be that its creative feel may not chime quite as well with a large corporate set up.
You can check out some of Typeform’s featured examples here:
Surveymonkey was the first big player on the scene when it comes to form building tools.
Still one of the market leaders, Surveymonkey has expanded its services to add depth to researchers’ experiences.
Despite this, Surveymonkey’s forms aren’t likely to blow anyone away with their design. They are instead, simple but effective. You can customize your survey and align it with your branding strategy, but flashy design doesn’t seem to be of the utmost importance to Surveymonkey.
Instead they’ve gravitated more toward what you can do with the data gathered, and how you can better understand it.
You can see this lack of emphasis on pizzazz in this example template they provide on their site. There’s a Powerpoint feel which runs counter to the Typeform approach:
Wufoo was actually bought by Surveymonkey in 2011 for $35 million. This is important to note because the two products have clear points of difference.
While Surveymonkey is highly geared towards surveys, Wufoo is focused on forms and their various uses. You can imagine the difference between the two as being similar to a marketing tool vs a developer tool. Hopefully, this will become clearer as we go through other areas of the products like functionality.
Wufoo give the ability to tailor a form to your branding and allows for a good deal of customization, but I wouldn’t say it is at the core of the product.
The image above shows how Wufoo display their different templates – function over form!
Though the UI of Wufoo may not be a focus, the UX is geared to make sure customers can always be asked for the right information in the right ways, leading to more effective data gathering.
The criticism pointed at Typeform – that a corporate website may not want to embed a template on their website – cannot be levied at Wufoo. If anything, that is the ideal use case for Wufoo from a design perspective!
You can check out a couple of the templates in more detail here:
- Emergency Contact and Medical Information
- Online Petition to Make a Difference
- Rental Application Form
Intuitive builders save time and money
Unsurprisingly, given Typeform’s focus on clean design and accessible interfaces, building a Typeform survey is a very intuitive process.
The main part of the screen contains a linear depiction of the survey process. You can click on each of these steps to expand and edit the segments. This allows you to choose which fields are required and which are not. It allows you to decide whether you want placeholder text or not. These modules are presented in a clear manner and they are easy to tweak.
On the left of the screen, you will see three sections: Welcome screen, Widgets, and Thank You screen.
This allows you to customize the user experience by having a quasi-landing page for your survey, and to boost engagement and respondent satisfaction through thanking them at the end – even providing a call to action to encourage them into a further step.
The widgets work on the basis of a drag and drop system which allows you to build out your survey visually. This feature means that anyone can add complexity to a survey without having to be a computer whizz. Ideal for reducing staff training time and facilitating delegation.
Once you have built the structure of the form, you can use the top navigation bar to move to the design stage. Here, you can tinker with the appearance or work from an existing design template. At this stage, the center part of the screen no longer shows the workflow, but instead shows a preview of the final survey so that you can see your changes in action.
The building process for Surveymonkey differs from Typeform, but remains highly intuitive.
As you can see from the image above, the Surveymonkey form building process provides us with a live preview from the beginning with a menu on the left hand side.
If you were to click on Builder then it would show you a number of different widgets you could add into the survey:
- Multiple choice
- Star rating
You can either drag and drop these options into your live preview or click to add one of the widgets and it will automatically be included at the bottom of the survey.
This shows you a series of form fields in that section of the live preview for you to configure and adapt your question. As soon as you are happy with your settings, you can click Save and the form will transform into a question as it would appear live.
If you click on Themes on the left hand menu, you will be given the option of selecting an existing Surveymonkey theme or creating one of your own. These prebuilt themes largely consist of changes of background and slight differences in the colors of the body of the survey. The extent of design customization is more limited than Typeform, but it is still present and allows you to tinker.
You’ll be pleased to hear that Wufoo have a live form builder which you can play around with without signing up.
You can access this here: Wufoo Form Builder Demo
The builder is fairly intuitive but a lot less sexy than the other two options.
However, where the form builder excels is in the detail. In Field Settings and Form Settings there are options which allow you to provide instructions for the CSS or add captchas. The builder provides a broad degree of functionality which is easy for a user to find and implement quickly into the form.
Though the form builder might look a little 2010, it is actually quite intuitive and you can build a form in very little time.
One slight downside is the design customization. Instead of simply navigating to a new tab or changing specific appearances while working on your form, you have to enter into a separate editor to create a new theme.
Once you’ve created your theme, you can apply it to your form or any future forms. This is fine as it works and it can help keep things standardized, but it feels less convenient than the other platforms.
In the other platforms, you can play with the design on the form you’re building and create custom themes which you can apply to future forms.
I don’t dislike the Wufoo form builder, but it has room for improvement.
Get better data from more varied questions
With Typeform, you can include a whole range of different options within your surveys.
The classic features are all present:
- Short fields
- Long fields
- Select from a range
- Email field
- Date field
- Multiple choice
- Picture choice
But Typeform also includes:
- File uploads
- Grouped questions
- Conditional logic
- and Payments
That last one is particularly interesting. Through their integration with Stripe’s payment platform, you can now accept payments through Typeform.
This feels like a really useful feature, but given the way Typeform surveys are presented to users I’m hesitant to speculate on when they would actually be used. It isn’t often that I will fill out a survey and choose to pay through the survey.
This feels more like Typeform gravitating toward form building in ways that are separate from surveys. Like embedding Typeform in your website as a way to customize a payment portal.
Given people’s feelings regarding security when paying online, I’m not sure how this will fare.
Surveymonkey contains largely the same survey related features as Typeform does.
It’s easy to add:
- Multiple choice
- Star ratings
- and a matrix/rating scale
You can also add spaces for written answers and Surveymonkey provide a few options to make this easy for you.
They have a section called Question Bank which allows you to browse through a huge library of questions to pick ones to include in your survey. There are a couple of benefits to this approach. One small benefit is that looking through other questions can help you figure out what you want to ask and how you want to ask it; constructing the tone of your survey.
The second benefit is the value that creates for – for example – non-native English speakers. Given that Surveymonkey is one of the largest tools for survey creation, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have a large number of international users. When writing in another language it’s very easy to phrase something in a way which looks fine to you, but would read strange to a native speaker.
Having a question bank like this allows for natural-sounding questions to be included by non-English speakers. This adds a degree of accessibility to the platform. When teamed with Surveymonkey’s vast library of templates, we can see that it enables a huge number of people to create professional surveys which they might have difficulty creating on their own.
Finally, they also save the different questions you create into your own library so that you can choose the same question again without having to recreate it as an entry. This is a handy timesaver for people who might be creating multiple similar surveys.
Again, Wufoo has the same broad selection of questions and fields as we see within the Typeform or Surveymonkey form builders.
From dropdowns to checkboxes to date fields to form uploads.
Where Wufoo excels, however, is in a feature they share with Typeform. Wufoo has a payment integration setting so that you can accept payments through Wufoo.
I criticized Typeform’s use of this feature slightly as Typeform tends to present itself as a survey, and people may not feel as comfortable paying through a survey. Where Wufoo differ is that their form can be embedded into a website in a way which appears more native.
This allows a Wufoo form to appear on the website more like a normal payment gateway. As such, Wufoo provides an easy route to deploying a customizable payment form for your website.
The integration of payment features allows you to connect your form to Stripe, Paypal, Authorize.net, Braintree, and more. The number of options available opens the system up to sync with a broad array of existing payment workflows which a business might have.
I feel Wufoo struggles as a survey tool in comparison to the others, but excels in providing this particular use case.
Multiple channels to gather data can help get a high volume of responses
Much like its beautiful simple design, Typeform is pretty simple in regards to distribution.
Typeform create a unique URL for your survey which you can send to your respondents for them to complete your survey.
The survey looks great on both desktop and mobile, which is its key selling point.
It also allows you to embed your Typeform on your website. This embed feature works nicely, however, it is clear that the form is embedded rather than appearing to be native in your site.
Typeform have a beta feature which allows respondents to complete the survey within an email, which is a feature I quite like.
Ultimately, you can deliver Typeform to your users in an easy to access way, but there isn’t anything particularly special about how they achieve this.
Though not as sexy in design as Typeform, Surveymonkey provides a range of ways to gather data.
In the image above, you’ll see the various options Surveymonkey provide for distributing your survey. Many of them are features shared with Typeform: Post on Social Media, Embed on Website, Get Web Link, etc.
The 3 stand-out features for me are:
- Embed in Mobile App: This allows a company to gather information without forcing a user out of their platform, and provides a significant advantage to any mobile startup.
- Send by Email: The Surveymonkey email feature is more established than its Typeform equivalent and provides you with a good deal of data in regards to who opened emails, who clicked, and who completed the survey. This allows you to double-tap certain leads and chase up further responses.
- Buy responses: As well as being an intelligent extra revenue stream for Surveymonkey, this feature could help companies overcome the biggest challenge of surveys: getting responses. We all know that research is useless without a significant sample size and getting people to take surveys is difficult and creates an added variable in terms of self-selection. These problems can be avoided by tapping into this pool of willing survey takers. This feature isn’t for everyone, but certain research projects could benefit hugely from these extra respondents.
Surveymonkey provide as many options as you could want for to help you gather responses. This is perhaps their shining moment.
Like the other options, Wufoo provides a URL to send to your respondents. The slug of this URL will reflect the title of your form, so people who click it will know what they’re taking. A convenient little detail.
The best part of Wufoo, as we’ve mentioned before, is the ability to customize it ready to embed cleanly into your website.
The Wufoo form, in this sense, shares more in common with a WordPress form builder plugin than it does with a classic survey tool.
Wufoo is a great option if you want to gather your responses on your own website and make it look natively integrated. Otherwise, it doesn’t quite live up to the potential of the other tools.
If you have an account, you can play around with the live demo for the Wufoo Form Embed Kit. This is a kind of sandbox tool for developers to adapt how the form appears when embedded into a website. Simply import a form into the iframe box and start fiddling. You can find a PDF of documentation here: Wufoo Integration PDF.
If you can’t interpret your data, what was the point?
The whole purpose of setting out on your survey adventure was to get results you can understand and analyze.
Typeform performs well in this area, providing data on your form’s engagement rates and gathering your responses to be analyzed.
The data is shown in an intuitive way and Typeform provides 4 screens for you to navigate:
- Metrics: This shows the performance of the form itself, as shown in the image above.
- Results: This shows the responses to the form. You can apply filters to analyze the data in browser or you can export the data to be analyzed offline.
- Google Analytics: This screen lets you connect your Typeform with your existing Google Analytics account for greater reporting on who is accessing it where.
- Reports: This section is where Typeform automatically generates reports for you to understand your form’s performance and data at a glance. This is a handy way of having a quick overview of the results before investigating further.
On the Configure stage of your Typeform, before you complete the setup of the survey, you can also add other means of gathering responses.
You can set notifications to send you responses via email to keep you up to the minute. You can set up a webhook to automatically send responses to a URL. You can also manage integrations to connect your Typeform to Mailchimp or Zapier and its library of +800 different apps.
If you want to see an example of how to do this, you can check out our help article: Typeform + Process Street Integration, where we show you how to automatically launch a Process Street checklist from a Typeform entry.
Similarly, Surveymonkey provides a strong set of tools for understanding your data.
As you’ll see in the image snippet above, Surveymonkey has an internal app store full of native integrations. This includes countless analytics and reporting tools.
Amongst this set of tools are:
- Dashboard builders to show you the data you want to see most
- Data visualization tools like Tableau to give you easy to communicate graphics
- and Text analysis tools like NVivo and Gavagai Explorer to provide sentiment analysis and other insights into open ended text responses.
On top of all this, Surveymonkey also has a Zapier integration to connect it to a whole range of other services.
The reporting and analytics offered by Surveymonkey is remarkably comprehensive. Even within its own simple reporting it provides the options to filter data in different ways, to analyze responses per question, per individual, or looking at overall trends. Add to this the ability to analyze A/B tests of surveys and Surveymonkey becomes the clear winner in regards to reporting and analytics.
Wufoo’s reporting feels like the weakest of the bunch.
It is nice the way it lets you build your custom report, as seen in the image above, but the overall functionality doesn’t stand up against the other tools on offer.
One strength it shares is the ability to integrate with Zapier and connect to their library of apps. You can see an example of a Wufoo integration here: Wufoo + Process Street Integration.
However, it is worth mentioning that for a tech savvy team the ability to show complex reports within the platform isn’t always the highest priority.
Given that you can export your data as a CSV file – and in other formats – a highly tech literate team could choose to analyze that any way they want to.
This chimes with the general strengths that I’ve focused on with Wufoo; as a simple developer tool the bells and whistles aren’t as important, its ability to integrate seamlessly into a website while providing data in a readable form is its appeal.
On a scale from 1-10 how important is price to your purchasing decision?
Typeform offers a free tier with limited functionality and a cap on surveys.
The basic PRO package at $30 (€25) per month is well tailored to a startup who want to carry out research, while the enterprise style PRO+ package gives all the features and would allow the account to be used by multiple teams.
If you like Typeform for its design, then the extra expense of the PRO+ package might not be necessary, but it will allow you the full range of functionalities.
You can also contact Typeform for custom enterprise quotes as well.
In terms of pricing, Surveymonkey comes in at a similar region to Typeform, though marginally more expensive.
The free package gives the same restrictions as the Typeform free package, whereas the unlimited responses will cost you around $5 more per month than the comparable Typeform package. The Advantage package from Surveymonkey does offer a second user for that price, so it balances out somewhat.
The Premier package offers greater use of logic when building surveys, multilingual surveys, and phone support.
Whether this is enough to justify paying over double the price is up to you.
There are also enterprise plans offered custom for large organizations.
Wufoo offer the lowest cost premium version which supports a very reasonable 1000 responses per month for $19.
The version comparable with the promoted Typeform and Surveymonkey options – the version which allows you to actually make the most of the platform – is a little more expensive at $39 per month. However, this Professional package includes all the functionalities the platform has to offer.
The advantage of getting the Advanced package would be to increase certain metrics rather than to access features.
- 5 users vs 20 users
- 5000 entries vs 25000 entries
- 5 GB of uploads vs 10 GB of uploads
- 25000 API requests vs 50000 API requests
On top of this, Wufoo offer an enterprise package called Ultimate for $249 per month with a 25% discount if you pay annually.
All of the platforms we’ve looked at are useful and could be great choices for different businesses.
Typeform excels in its sleek design with a broad range of features. Typeform is the kind of survey tool I would use if I was sending out feedback forms to my startup’s user base. It’s funky design chimes nicely with the way startups present themselves and it delivers its core service really well.
Surveymonkey might not have the flashy design of Typeform, but it is a very easy to use system with powerful tools inside the system. Surveymonkey feels like a tool most suited to a small to medium sized company which requires complexity, but also needs the tool to be used by different staff in house. It’s pool of paid access respondents is also a big selling point.
Wufoo is not my recommended survey tool. However, for a team with some technical skill who want to embed a form on their website or provide a custom payment gateway, and who are happy analyzing their own data from its raw form, Wufoo strikes me as an excellent choice.
Each piece of software has its own advantages.
I’m sure at least one of them can suit your needs!
Have you used these different tools? What were your experiences? Let me know in the comments below!