If there’s one thing that should be incredibly simple today, it should be making online forms and simple pages. There’s no dearth of survey and form apps: from Wufoo to Google’s free Docs Forms, there are form solutions for every design style and budget. And if you want to take payments, share rich info, or do almost anything else you want with a form, there’s likely an app for that.
And then there’s Lanbito. I’m always on the lookout for new high-quality web apps, and Lanbito caught my eye in our Quick Look post. It’s a simple solution to making mobile forms, and best of all, it’s a touch-ready web app. That’s something you don’t often see, and Lanbito’s implementation is simply brilliant. It’s worth taking a look at, even if you’ve already got a form solution you love.
Lanbito. Forms For the Rest of Us.
There’s dozens of reasons you might need a simple way to make a form for your friends, colleagues, or perfect strangers to fill out. Perhaps you want people to RSVP for your party, or you want a simple way to survey your Twitter followers about your company’s new app ideas. Lanbito gives you a dead-simple way to do that. You can quite literally create a new form in a minute or less, with no problem.
To get started, just sign into Lanbito with your Google Account, which will only take a click or two. Then, you’ll be immediately sent to the New Form builder screen, where you can immediately start creating a new form. It’s a nice solution to the usually frustrating process of creating yet another account. In Lanbito, you can create unlimited forms for free, and then receive up to 100 form entries for free each month. You can then purchase additional entry credits starting at $14.99 for 500 credits that will roll-over each month until they’re used.
Creating a form is quick and easy once you’ve signed in. You can immediately start dragging-and-dropping fields from the left onto the iPhone screen. Lanbito forms are designed mobile-first, but then scale up beautifully on tablets and desktops. Best of all, everything is designed to work with touch, too, so it’s a great way to create new online forms on the go from your iPad or other touch device. Just tap and drag elements, enter their settings on the right, then drag elements to rearrange them as you need. It just works, and for web apps on touch devices, that’s a nice surprise.
Your form itself has a few settings, which you can access from the right sidebar before you’ve selected any elements. Alternately, you can see the form settings again by clicking any blank area in the iPhone form preview. There’s a selection of options to let you add important info to your form, and thank people for filling out the form or redirect them to your site. Then, you can limit the number of responses, a nice option for a freemium form tool. Additionally, you can choose from over a half-dozen nicely designed form themes, including a simple one with a selection of colors. It’s not as advanced as, say, Wufoo’s theming, but it’s great for making a quick, stylish form.
Each of the fields have their own settings as well. You can add plain text, text boxes, name/address/phone fields, switcher/checkbox/button options, dates, maps, and more. My favorite feature was an option to add a map to your form. This way, you could create a Contact form and let visitors find your business without having to search for your location. And it’s simple to add your map; just enter your address, and Lanbito uses Google Maps to take care of the rest.
Hello World. Meet my 30 Second Form.
Best of all, your forms look great in any modern browser, even mobile and tablet browsers. They’re quick and easy to fill out, nicely designed, and have hardly any branding. Just your nice form, ready for visits! The only thing I noticed in testing was that the slider option doesn’t work correctly on desktop browsers, so you might want to only use that if your responders will be using smartphones and tablets.
It’s the Data That Counts
For the most part, the Lanbito form builder is all you’ll need to look at. But that’s not all that’s there. You’ve got an account dashboard as well, where you can tweak your profile settings, see how many credits you have left, and get more info on your existing forms. You’ll quickly see how many entries each has gotten, and can edit them, copy their URL, or view their entries.
Click the Entries button, and you’ll be sent over to Google Docs. Here, all of your form data has been saved into a new spreadsheet with the same name as your form. You can use the data right there, or download it in a variety of formats to your computer as you’d expect. One interesting thing to note is that Lanbito only includes the exact data your visitors entered, along with a timestamp of their reply. Many other forms tools offer advanced analytics, so if you’re looking for that, this might not be for you. But if you just want a simple way to take a survey and get some info, this works great.
Can’t I Just Use Google Docs Forms?
Truth is, you could just create a free form on Google Docs, and get unlimited entries for free. It works nicely, and, after all, stores your entries the very same way as Lanbito. The difference is, Google Docs forms are rather clunky to assemble, and don’t look nearly as nice. Plus, you can’t include as many extras, such as your map or a slider chooser. But, it’s still a good option for a quick and simple form, and likely the closest competitor to Lanbito.
If you’ve been looking for a nice and simple way to make forms, especially from your iPad, Lanbito might be the nicest solution yet. They’ve got a nice freemium model, similar to Mailchimp, that makes it easy to get started for free and scale up as you need. It’s got more features than Google Docs, and less than Wufoo, which gives it a sweet spot for those who want rich forms that are quick and simple … and free or nearly free. Give it a try; the form builder itself is fun enough to use to make it worth trying!