Wufoo

http://www.wufoo.com

I would love to say that I am such a great coder that I don’t need Wufoo and would never use it. But the reality is that Wufoo is such a well put together service that its easy to find value in what they do even for the best of developers. Wufoo is a form builder service – they create all sorts of forms for your users to fill out on your web page. The most common use for forms are:

  • Contact forms
  • Feedback forms
  • Surveys
  • Membership forms
But there are many many other uses for forms. They will even go so far as to take payments via your forms, with gateways such as Paypal. What Wufoo do is ensure your site professionally handles, filters, validates and manages your web forms so you can focus on your most critical parts of your web site. They will ensure your data is accurately collected and securely stored so you don’t have to worry. If you are updating or designing a new website consider implementing Wufoo in various places using one of their 80+ templates.

Wufoo were recently acquired by SurveyMonkey. Job well done guys. I hope you can continue to innovate in your new digs.

Alternatives:

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DecideAlready

https://www.decidealready.com/

Pinch, punch first of the month. I thought today I would introduce you to a fun SaaS site. They are probably taking their site a little more seriously than I am but that’s life! DecideAlready is a group decision assistant. It allows a user to propose a question and a set of possible answers to a distributed group of individuals and have them vote on an outcome. There are three methods of decisions:

  • Simple – You pick one answer and assign one vote to it
  • Ranked – You rank all the answers from most to least preferred
  • Criteria – You provide them a list of factors to consider with a sliding scale of weight (this is their commercial offering)
So, this is not a life changing service. But it is a useful service and you would be surprised how many times we wish we had a product like this. A simple, easy, mostly free web service for solving an every day problem.
DecideAlready is a SproutBox portfolio company. They have a growing collection of cool companies offering simple but useful solutions such as (in order of what I find most interesting):
  • CheddarGetter – Awesome subscription management and billing system
  • Proposable – Web delivery of sales proposals
  • Squad  – Collaborative code editing
  • ScheduleThing – Online scheduling and reservations
Keep up the good work SproutBox.

Alternatives:

  • I can’t find any even though I know there must be some.
  • Post a comment to add to this list …

EchoSign

http://www.echosign.com

One of the many failures in the paperless world was the fact that we still need to sign many things. From offline credit card payments to mortgage paperwork to contracts. Of course we were promised electronic signatures but nobody trusted them.

My office has recently gone almost completely paperless. But some paperwork can’t be avoided. I scan the papers I do receive and recycle the used paper. But my routine for contracts is to print the document, sign it by hand, scan it back in and email it back. If I have the Word version of the document, then I sign it with a scanned version of my signature and send it as a PDF to my client … who prints it, signs it, scans it and sends it back. Of course if they fax it back, I have to scan it again!

It seems I may be the only one in the world that didn’t know these problems had been resolved by a “trusted third party” named EchoSign. They claim to have 3,000,000 users of their service including Groupon, BT and Delta Airlines. They have a number of sub-products around the basic eSignature service including tracking of documents (i.e. who has signed and who has not), a fax-in service for those that don’t trust the new whizz-bang interweb, and a document archive for long term store-and-recall of signed documents.

I think I might give it a go for my next contract. As all good SaaS offerings, they have a limited free trial. The try-before-you-buy philosophy is one of the greatest things to come out of the software era!

Update 24/Jul/2011: While this is a long way from a replacement for EchoSign (and friends), Apple has added a little tweak to the Preview.app in Mac OSX Lion that will be sufficient for my needs. Preview now allows you to add a digital scan of your signature to any PDF document using the built-in video camera. A simple and fantastic improvement.

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