The form module used in the City’s current web platform has been a pain point for years, lacking with regards to both design and functionality. As a result, departments have implemented numerous other solutions. Looking at these turned up issues surrounding ADA compliance, user experience, and integrations with enterprise platforms — to speak nothing of a lack of cost-sharing and consistency for our end users.
We began by assessing these tools that City departments were using for digital forms, and where needs were not being met. We identified three pain points in particular:
These forms were not able to integrate with third-party services and widely-used enterprise systems. This creates a multitude of processes that involve employees manually transferring data from one system to another — wasting valuable staff time and introducing the possibility of human error to the data.
None of the form tools were sufficiently accessible. While many produced ADA-compliant forms, testing by users with disabilities revealed that even these were still difficult to use. It was an important reminder that accessibility requires both compliance and usability.
Forms lacked modern frontend logic and design. Forms presented many fields to the user all at once, instead of revealing them conditionally according to the specific information a user had provided. Help text was absent, overly-wordy, or simply confusing. Validation wasn’t always robust or clear, leaving users unsure why a form couldn’t be submitted or requiring staff to validate data manually.