We use Wufoo a ton here at John Carroll – it was one of the first things I signed us up for when I got there a little over a year ago and it’s taken the campus by storm.

Where there was previously no good way for people to do forms, registrations and feedback online (except for, ugh, SurveyMonkey), they now create all sorts of forms for our on and off campus audiences and process payments through it as well. It has saved me a ton of work over the last year, and for that I’m grateful. In fact, just last month we used it to do all the fundraising for our campus community radio station. It worked like a charm.

Two things that are cool about Wufoo are that forms you create there are hosted securely and that you can create your own themes and CSS to style your forms to match the look and feel of your institution. One of the ways to do this is to add in your logo to appear at the top of your forms. Ours looks like this:

Wufoo

I’m hosting that image in our account over at Amazon S3. In Wufoo’s theme creator, I listed the image as:

http://webmedia.jcu.edu/images/JCU_logo4.gif

That CNAME points to our S3 bucket. The image worked fine and looked great on our theme.

The only problem with doing it that way is that it makes the form unsecure. Chrome showed me this:

Insecure

After doing a bit of research, I was glad to see that you can, in fact, serve secure files from Amazon S3. The catch is that you cannot use a CNAME to access your files – you have to use Amazon’s domain name. Instead of using the URL above, to get secure files from S3, you have to structure your URL as so:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/webmedia.jcu.edu/images/JCU_logo4.gif

See, that was easy. Now my images and other files coming from S3 can be secure, if needed. Since the change, the form has been showing as completely secure.

Secure

We’ve been rolling out Wufoo forms across campus as our form creation and management tool of choice. It’s much more robust than the FormBuilder platform we built back in 2005, which is important, as I find myself with less and less time to spend supporting legacy web apps.

Wufoo is very full featured, with a robust API, a myriad of reporting options an several embedding options. We’ve been using it quite a bit as part of recruitment communications to customize and personalize forms as well as emails back to a user when they complete a form, which is really handy.

When we’ve had a support question or issue, it’s been answered and addressed quickly, which is nice.

So I’m 100% down with Wufoo, but I find myself wanting a few things that would take it to the next level.

1. Let me bring my own storage

At the level we’re at (the carpe diem plan at $69 a month), giving us only 3GB of storage is pretty silly. That amount of storage costs less than a dollar at any of the cloud storage services. Please, Wufoo, let me connect easily with my Amazon S3 account, where I could store as many files as possible and worry about the cost myself. I can think of a few forms where we’re asking people to upload a hi-res photo, and if a few hundred people fill out that form at a time, we could potentially get close to the limit. This should be a trivial fix.

2. Pagination

For surveys and other longer forms, it’d be really swell to break a form up across several pages. We have some applications and surveys that are so long I fear users see how long they have to scroll until they reach the end and they give up and go away. But a break in there would be nice.

3. Conditional Questions

The ability to ask a follow-up question only if a user selected a certain option in a checkbox or radio field would be nice. We’re getting this question quite a bit from people on campus.

4. A level between “Carpe Diem” and “Ad Infinitum”

It feels like there really should be one more level between their Carpe Diem plan (20 users, 3GB, 15,000 entries a month, $69.95/mo) and their Ad Infinitium plan (60 users, 10GB, 100,000 entries, $199.95/mo). We need about 40 users to cover everyone across campus. It’d be nice if there was a $99 or $129 plan where I could get 40 users, 6GB and 50,000 entries.

Wufoo, keep on keeping on. We’re huge fans of your service and so are our campus users.

Update from Wufoo::

Screen shot 2009-11-04 at 10.29.30 AM