Regardless of our web’s theme, we’re going to need to create forms since they are the link between visitors and users of our web. There’s a great number of plugins to create forms with and, as always, the choice varies according to our needs and economic situation.
What makes a good form plugin?
In my opinion, it needs to allow to easily create any type of form. Thus it needs to offer a great variety of fields and data input methods, including the necessary logic behind to speed up and simplify data compilation for the end user. This includes that the generated form can adapt to the different screens of the devices used by our visitors.
It also needs to have a visual editor which allows us to implement our desired design, minimizing the necessity of modifying CSS or PHP code. Logically, the resulting form has to be responsive, and able to adequately integrate to our theme’s style.
After testing a few of them, I’ve chosen Caldera Forms, which I believe has all the necessary requirements.
¿What makes Caldera Forms different from other form builders?
Most of the available plugins offer these functionalities in their premium versions. It’s commoncto find big limitations in their functionality and/or their design options available on their free versions. However, Caldera Forms, as we’ll soon see, implements all of these functionalities in its free version.
Once we install and activate the plugin, we’ll create a new form.
Off the bat we’ve got a visual editor with every setting we could need. Even though we could do with more available themes, one of the strengths of Caldera Forms is that we can start from an empty form and shortly after have any design we want implemented.
To add elements drag the “Add field” button to the desired position and when dropped, choose the type of data input.
We can choose from a wide array of practically every type of field we could need. There’s a great variety of specialized fields: email, date, phone, upload file, check boxes, etc. The specialized fields can easily be setup in the panel on the right side.
Designing is extremely easy, just drag the fields to the desired position. Caldera Forms uses a Bootstrap grid, which means we can divide and combine horizontal blocks by clicking the corresponding icons. This way we can quickly achieve the distribution which best adapts to what we need. In the “Adaptability” tab, select the screen width under which the form will shape itself in one column.
The “Add page” option, as its name implies, allows to divide an extensive form in various parts, keeping the user from having to move up and down the page. The “Conditionals” tab allows us to display and hide fields dynamically, depending on the data entered by the user. This way, we won’t ask the users for unnecessary information, something they will undoubtedly appreciate.
In every step of the design we can access the corresponding docummentation with a single click. You can also learn more here.
This way, we can implement any type of form, regardless of how complicated it gets, in a short amount of time. For instance: