As many venues are considering plans to partially or fully reopen or to organize events, many companies may need covid-related liability waivers for the first time, or to adapt existing waivers with new information. This allows for the opportunity to rethink the standard PDF waiver and to bring the process into greater ease of use and to save time with online automation; no pens or paper need change hands, and the process of administering a waiver need not bring administrative headache.
a) Sites need secure, user-friendly forms that work on both desktop and mobile. Typically, waivers and other legal docs are completed and submitted in PDF form. However, even standard, fillable PDF forms are not navigable on mobile devices. It’s unwieldy and inconvenient for people to need to download and fill PDFs and then upload them back to a site – especially on mobile devices, and especially when this process needs to happen in a hurry and on the go.
b) Where should the completed waivers go? It’s unreasonable to have all waivers sent to an client email address to be manually filed away, which is where most standard web contact forms send to. Your website should save you time, not add a layer of administrative tasks. It’s also not very secure to store them entirely on one’s website; if the site goes down or the files become corrupted, all of that data can be lost. Also, they take up server space. Finally, someone should not need to login to their website every time they want to make sure everyone in a class or at an event has completed a waiver. Data about who has completed the form and other form details need to be at the fingertips of those who need to use that data in the course of their work. Thus, the forms and data about who has completed them need to go to external storage, like Google Drive/Google Sheets. Google Forms is an example of a service which allows front-end file upload to Google Drive, but for someone who has completed a waiver to upload a completed pdf to a Google form, one needs a Google email address – unrealistic to expect of everyone who needs to complete a waiver.
c) What happens after submission? In the case of waivers and other legal documents, signees often need a copy of of the document they’ve signed. Typical contact forms just show a “your message has been successfully submitted” notification.
Recently, I had a client whose waiver form needs presented all of these challenges.
First we looked at a few 3rd party Doc signing services like Docusign or HelloSign/HelloWorks, which sometimes offered good security as well as a good mobile presentation and convenience, but there’s not a good integration to Google Drive without purchasing a super-expensive enterprise-level API subscription, which was unrealistic for a small or medium-sized business. Leaving the data on the service would make it difficult for the client to access and manage information on a daily basis. There were also questions about how the signee could access the forms they’ve signed. It was unacceptable on all fronts that the forms would have been vaulted in the black box of the 3rd party service.
This client already had a secure and robust WordPress website infrastructure, which made it easy to add a few pieces along with automation to place the information where it needed to go, and to keep all of the data within the client’s control. Within 3 hours, we established, completed troubleshooting on, and published an optimal solution.
A secure, user-friendly form that works on both desktop and mobile:
We rewrote the PDF as an mobile-friendly online form, which, using the conditional logic a higher-end form-builder brings to the table, allows users to view and complete the fields that pertain only to them, thus avoiding needless visual clutter. The form is also auto-populated with easy date-picker fields, and includes e-signature areas which play well on touch screens.
Automating the form to send to external storage:
Next, we used Zapier to connect the webform to external storage, which sends the form contents to a spreadsheet for quick, sortable reference about who has completed it along with their contact and other form information.
A takeaway for my client’s clients:
Finally, we incorporated an application which turns the completed waiver form into a PDF file which is instantly available for download in the “form successfully submitted” notification. The PDF is also automatically sent to the the signee’s email address for their personal records, and is made available to the waiver venue.
It gets better: this waiver can be seamlessly integrated into the client’s other forms, so that, for example, three complex processes of lesson sign-up, waiver-signing and payment can all happen on-site and within the flow of one online form.
Need help with an online waiver form? Hit me up.