Embracing Gravity Forms in WordPress

11 February 2021
Gravity Forms

One of the features that is available in WordPress is a form builder plug-in called “Gravity Forms”.  Paul Bernhardt, from Cinema and Media Studies and the Office of the Director of the Arts, has been making full use of that tool. “What’s different about building forms with Gravity,” says Paul, “is the ability to easily add conditional logic to each question, as well as the emails the form can automatically generate.”

Here are some of Paul’s use cases:

Projection report

This form is structured so that answering each question also serves as a checklist for how to project a movie. If something’s not working as it should, the form offers diagnostic information — a powerful feature to support a complex system using  a simple web form. The form also asks for general information — start time, audience count, temperature and humidity. If either temperature or humidity is out of range, the results get sent automatically to Jeff in Facilities Management (by pre-arrangement with him). 

Quick projector check

I made a miniature projector report that my team runs once a week, which notifies me of important projector settings. I’m very happy I did, because it actually did catch something — turned out to be quite minor (a faulty Ethernet cable), but I couldn’t have known that before going in to troubleshoot. If it had been something requiring a spare part, I would’ve wanted to get on that right away. As many colleagues in technology and have experienced, COVID has disrupted the global supply chain such that any one item needed can be a couple days out, as usual, or weeks or even months, with no way of predicting which.

Space checks

When the regimen of cleaning supplies needed in each room became clear last spring, I wanted to check up on how the cinema projection booth was supplied, along with all three audio and video studios in the Weitz, as well as Advanced Edit (Weitz 134) and the Media Lab (138). As part of eliminating in-person circulation activities,  I assigned mics to Weitz Audio Recording Studio for the term (for the first time in nine years). Not being in the building every day, I wanted a quick status check on the mics, as well as the status in all rooms: did anyone rearrange furniture, leave the windows open, or leave articles behind that should go to the lost-and-found? I built another form and set a rotation schedule for people on my team to fill it out. I understand the form has since been adopted as part of a campus-wide classroom monitoring program.

If you’d like to explore what’s possible for your website, come to a Web Wednesday session and talk to a member of Web Services.

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