Public & visitor feedback
Form pages & Formstack
Use this content type to gather data and feedback from constituents via Formstack forms.

Why use this content type?

This content type is for hosting forms created using the Formstack tool. These forms can be used to gather data and feedback from your audience. Form pages can be linked from pages built using other content types, including Binders, Curated Lists, and Service pages.
To use Formstack, you or a colleague will need to have an account.
To request access to Formstack or check if you already have an account, submit a ServiceNow support request.

Creating a form with Formstack

You need to build your form in Formstack before creating your Form page on Mass.gov.
In cases where your form allows people to submit a file, you’ll first need to create a “submission received” page on Mass.gov.

Get a Formstack account

Mass Digital has a limited number of Formstack licenses, so we ask that only individuals who will be using Formstack to create forms on a regular basis request accounts.
If you just need to build a form once or once in a while, contact someone in your department who has a Formstack account to create the form, or reach out to Mass Digital through ServiceNow. If you only need a Formstack account to access secure uploads, read about pairing Formstack with OneDrive.
If you would like a Formstack account, submit a ServiceNow support request.
We’ll need to know your:
  • Name
  • Email address
  • Agency

Set up 2-factor authentication

Once you have a Formstack account, you’ll need to set up 2-factor authentication for security.
You can use Google Authenticator in the same way that you use 2-factor authentication for the Content Management System and other applications. See Formstack’s help article on how to set up Google Authenticator or other applications, as well as how to set up 2-factor authentication with text messages.
After you enable 2-factor authentication, you’ll be given the option to save backup codes. We strongly recommend you save these in a safe place because 2-factor authentication can't be reset by Mass Digital, or Formstack.
If you lose access and don't have your backup codes, we would have to work with Formstack to get access to your backup codes, which may not be a quick process.

OneDrive & Formstack submissions

We encourage organizations to use OneDrive to provide access to files attached to Formstack submissions regardless of whether users have a Formstack account.
This will help us stay under our Formstack accounts and storage limits, and keep documents under your control in a place that you manage.
Formstack explains the OneDrive integration process in detail, but the basics are that a Formstack user in your organization would select a form and go to Settings > Integrations > Microsoft OneDrive.
A OneDrive folder would be designated to collect submitted files, and your organization would grant access to that folder for those who will be reading the incoming emails generated from form submissions.
Microsoft OneDrive

Building a Form page

Title and Short description

Required. Use a title that is clear and searchable. The short description should expand upon the title.

Short title

Optional. This field is used to shorten the full title of a page when displayed in a breadcrumb. First aim to shorten the actual page title if it’s long, but not so much that the title is no longer clear if someone comes directly to a page from a search engine.
Title and short description

Listing description

Optional. May be used in Curated Lists and search results.

You will need

Optional. This is a rich text editor where you can explain anything that someone should have or know before they start this form.

Contacts

Optional. Add up to 3 contacts via autofill fields.

Embedded form

Required. Copy and paste embed code from Formstack here.
Note: If you are working with an older Formstack form, you might need to change its theme to Mayflower. To do this, open it in Formstack, and click the “Build” tab. Select “theme” from the bottom left menu, and make sure “Mayflower” is selected:
Mayflower option

Form embed type

Required. Choose between “Formstack with no file upload (success message on same page)” and “Formstack with file upload (success message on different page)”

Parent page

The required Parent page field appears on all public-facing content types and it powers the breadcrumb-based navigation system.
The Mass.gov team prepopulated the field based on an analysis of which child pages belong to which parent pages. Each child page can be assigned only 1 parent, or higher-level page.
These connections, displayed in the form of breadcrumbs (i.e., links) above the page title, will help Mass.gov visitors find their way to relevant information regardless of where they start on the site.

Organization(s)

You’ll find the Organization(s) field at the bottom of the first tab in every Mass.gov content type, and in documents. This field tells Mass.gov​’s search which pages belong to which organization. ‌
Making sure your Organization field is filled out correctly will help users who land on your content find their way to your Organization Page.

Intended audience

This field isn’t being used yet, so there’s no need to fill it in.

Language

English is chosen by default, but you can choose another language via the dropdown or make a ServiceNow request if the language you need isn't in the dropdown.

Labels

This is optional, however it is very helpful. Add one or more labels to be used to used for grouping and finding related content and documents within the CMS.
Start typing in the Label(s) field to choose an existing label from a dropdown menu that will appear or add a new label by entering it directly.
Labels

Form pages with file uploads vs. Form pages without file uploads

Currently, you need to follow different steps for Form pages that allow users to upload a file than for Form pages that only ask users to answer questions.
Important: It doesn’t matter if the file upload is required or optional. If your Formstack form includes a file upload, but you don’t follow the “Create a Form Page with a file upload” steps, you won’t receive any of the files users upload. Additionally, users won’t get an indication that they’ve submitted the form. The user experience will be that they’ve clicked “submit,” but nothing has happened.

Create a Form Page with a file upload

This resource assumes that you’ve already built your form in Formstack. (If it is an older form, make sure you change the theme to Mayflower.)
Look to inform your audience within the form and on the page that the upload size on forms is limited to 25MB.

Step 1: Create a “submission received” page

The first thing you’ll need to do is create the page that tells users they’ve successfully submitted a form. We suggest you use an Information Details page for this. You can also use this Information Details page to link to other, related pages of interest to survey respondents.
Form has been submitted message
Open your form in Formstack. Under the “Settings” tab, open the “Email & Actions” menu on the left side. Click the “Add a submission message” button.
Link to submission page
Select the bottom option: “Redirect to a custom URL.” Paste the URL of your “submission received page.”
Redirect to a custom URL
Important: Don’t forget to change edit.mass.gov/ to www.mass.gov/ after you paste.
Change the redirect link

Step 3: Embed the form on your Form page

Open your form in Formstack and click the “Publish” tab. Copy the code that appears beneath the “Embed this form on your website:” header. Then, paste it into the embedded form section of your Form page:
Embedded form code

Step 4: Select “Formstack with file upload (success message on different page)” from the Form Embed Type menu:

Select "Formstack with file upload"

Step 5: Make sure the process is working smoothly

Since you’re coordinating between 2 tools — Mass.gov and Formstack — it’s a good idea to try to submit a form yourself to make sure everything works the way you want it to. Some things that can go wrong include:
  • If you forget to change your Information Details page’s URL from “edit” to “www” in Formstack, users won’t be able to access it
  • If you forget to publish the Information Details page, users won’t be able to access it
  • If you forget to select “Formstack with file upload (success message on different page),” users won’t be taken to the submission success page, and their files won’t be uploaded
If you have a file upload field on a Formstack form, you need to remove the submissions periodically from Formstack after you have downloaded them. We have limited shared storage at Formstack for file uploads, so Formstack should not be used as a permanent repository.

Optional: Prevent your “submission received” page from showing up in searches

Any page that’s published on Mass.gov is searchable. However, you can prevent users from accidentally landing on your “submission received” page. To do this, open the “Metatags” in the gray authoring box on the right.
Configure meta tags
Then, open the “Advanced” dropdown, and click the box next to “Prevents search engines from indexing this page.”
Metatag formatting options

Formstack secure uploads feature

The Formstack secure uploads feature, introduced in late 2020, allows those filling out forms to upload documents, such as a driver’s license, that contain personally identifiable information essential to completing certain applications. The feature is available on all existing and new forms.
​We encourage organizations to use OneDrive to provide access to files attached to Formstack submissions regardless of whether users have a Formstack account.

Creating a Form Page without a file upload

This resource assumes that you’ve already built your form in Formstack. (If it is an older form, make sure you change the theme to Mayflower.)

Step 1: Embed the form on your Form Page

Open your form in Formstack and click the “Publish” tab. Copy the code that appears beneath the “Embed this form on your website:” header. Then, paste it into the embedded form section of your Form page:
Embedded form code

Step 2: Select “Formstack with no file upload (success message on same page)” from the Form Embed Type menu:

You may want to edit the message that Formstack normally displays to tell users that they’ve successfully submitted. To do this:
  1. 1.
    Open your form in Formstack.
  2. 2.
    Under the “Settings” tab, open the “Email & Actions” menu on the right side. Click the “Add a submission message” button.
Formstack settings
3. Select the middle option, “Display a custom message.” Enter the text you want users to read after they’ve successfully submitted a form, and then “Save Submission Message.”
Formstack settings

Step 3: Make sure the process is working smoothly

Since you’re coordinating between 2 tools — Mass.gov and Formstack — it’s a good idea to try to submit a form yourself to make sure everything works the way you want it to.

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