Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles

Adobe Business Catalyst: Building Web Forms to Gather Visitor Data

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this chapter, you'll take a look at how the Business Catalyst Platform gathers information submitted by visitors and stores it in the database. This is a powerful component of the online business, because the data obtained by interested visitors can be used in a variety of ways.
This chapter is from the book

Contents

Examining the Contact Form on the Trial Site

75

Accessing Form Data in the Dashboard of the Admin Console

77

Understanding Workflows

79

Editing Web Forms

82

Adding Web Forms to Web Pages in Dreamweaver

85

Using the Module Manager to Insert Web Form Module Tags

89

Creating Web Forms with the Web Form Builder

90

Adding Web Forms to Pages with the 1-Click Insert Menu

94

Overview of Working with Web Forms

96

Previously, you learned how the site's database stores and displays dynamic data in modules. The creation and display of module data enables you to create interactive features and develop compelling websites.

In this chapter, you'll take a look at how the Business Catalyst Platform gathers information submitted by visitors and stores it in the database. This is a powerful component of the online business, because the data obtained by interested visitors can be used in a variety of ways, including to:

  • Generate an online community of like-minded people
  • Track activities of specific customers to discover business trends
  • Create recipient lists to send newsletters and e-mail campaigns
  • Respond to product sales inquiries and schedule appointments
  • Process online payment transactions
  • Remind attendees about upcoming events and reservation bookings
  • Enable registered visitors to log in to secure zones
  • Send personalized anniversary greetings and annual service reminders
  • Provide online help and manage customer support cases

Ultimately, these activities are used to convert visitors into customers.

Good communication is critical when interacting with potential customers. Web forms enable visitors to contact the business in a way that is more professional than simply providing an e-mail address. The user experience can include an online confirmation message and a personalized auto-reply e-mail message that is sent after each form submission.

The system makes it easy for your clients to access and track customer data, so that they can reply to inquiries in a timely manner. The Admin Console provides an overview of customer information in the Dashboard and includes an intuitive report system to locate specific records.

Web forms are completely customizable, facilitating the collection of data that is specific to a particular business. When you create a form for the site, you add the fields to define the data that is collected. You can add preconfigured fields, such as username, e-mail, and password. You can also make custom fields to tailor the input elements to match the theme of a site. Custom fields can capture data such as birth dates, gender, location, product models, and shoe sizes. Using reports, you can easily retrieve this information to learn more about your customers and their preferences. Businesses can use this specialized information to engage with their customers and connect with them on a more personal level.

You can also obtain feedback by including specific questions in your forms:

  • Where did you hear about us?
  • Would you like to subscribe to the newsletter?
  • What time is most convenient to contact you?

When asking for personal data, it is a best practice to make the fields optional, rather than required, so that visitors do not feel overwhelmed. If you ask too many questions, they may decide not to submit the form at all.

All of the features in Business Catalyst, including web forms, are integrated into a single, centralized database. The data added to modules (as described in Chapter 4, "Configuring, Inserting, and Customizing Modules") is stored along with the customer data so that all the details of the site are easy to retrieve in the Admin Console.

To get started, you'll explore the trial site from the visitor's perspective, to see how the customer data is submitted. The template for the trial site includes a prebuilt contact form that you'll use in the next section to submit data and see how the system works.

Examining the Contact Form on the Trial Site

Every site should provide visitors with a method to contact the business. In the early days of the Web, the contact page typically included an e-mail address, telephone number, and snail-mail address. However, e-mail addresses are problematic because they may contain typographical errors. Messages might wind up in a junk folder or the Inbox of an employee who is out of the office.

Web forms are vastly superior to e-mail addresses because they can include notification workflows and route submissions to multiple addresses behind the scenes, to ensure inquiries are answered quickly. Additionally, contact forms can use image verification (CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) to prevent spambots from scraping sites to gather e-mail addresses for malicious purposes.

Because every inquiry is tracked within the system, the business can ensure that no messages go unanswered.

Visit the trial site in a browser. Click the Contact Us menu item to visit the Contact page and access the form (FIGURE 5.1).

Figure 5.1

Figure 5.1 The Contact page contains an HTML contact form.

Required fields of the form are marked with asterisks, and the code used to create the form includes form field validation. If you attempt to submit the form without providing the required data, an alert message is displayed (FIGURE 5.2).

Figure 5.2

Figure 5.2 If you skip a required field, the form reminds you to enter the missing data.

Be sure to complete the form. You can enter bogus data if you'd like, but you can view the process more completely if you enter a valid e-mail address. If you use a real e-mail address and you check the account after submitting the form, you'll see an auto-responder e-mail message generated by the system.

When you submit the form, a Thank You page appears with a summary of the information that you submitted (FIGURE 5.3).

Figure 5.3

Figure 5.3 The form data is displayed on the page so that visitors can review their submission.

The summary is helpful because if visitors make a mistake when they enter their information, they may catch their error and resubmit the form immediately to correct it. It also emphasizes that their entry was successfully received, to promote a better user experience.

Now that you've entered some data in the contact form, you'll play the role of the business owner and see how the submitted form data is displayed in the Admin Console. You'll see how web forms are more than a message delivery system; they enable businesses to leverage customer data and convert inquiries into sales opportunities.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020