John Smith: Hello?
Telemarketer: Hi there, Mr. Smith. How are you today? I was just wondering if you have six hours to answer a telephone survey on bathroom products?
John: Hi. I'm fine. No.
Telemarketer: Well then, how about a five-minute survey on Web pages?
John: Well, okay, but I'm not feeling very well right now… (sniff! cough!)
Telemarketer: Goodie! Okay. Have you ever made a Web site?
John: Why, yes I have, as a matter of fact. I'm actually quite interested in the topic.
Telemarketer: That's great! What program did you use?
John: I used FrontPage98.
Telemarketer: Okay. And what was the Web site for?
John: It was a local teachers' association site. You see, I'm an elementary school teacher. I'm just home sick today - got a nasty flu from one of the kids.
Telemarketer: Whoa! You must get that a lot - being surrounded by so many runny little noses all winter! Anyway, please tell me more about your Web site.
John: Well, it included information on current issues in education, computer courses for teachers, schedules for our upcoming meetings, and how to get a copy of our members' questionnaire. We asked them to pick up the questionnaire from their school offices and then mail them in to our postal box.
Telemarketer: I see. Have you ever used forms?
John: No. What's a form?
Telemarketer: A form is a special tool used to collect information from your Web site visitors. There are actually five different tools you can use. You could have used a form to get your association members to fill out the questionnaire and send it back to you over the Internet.
John: Are you kidding me? How does that work? Is this some kind of prank call or something?
Telemarketer: Relax, John! Grab a tissue! Imagine you wanted to ask your site visitors how long they had been in the profession, what grades they taught, where they were located, and if they could send you their e-mail addresses. You could have gathered all that information by using an online form! You can use Web forms as online application forms, quizzes for the kids, volunteer sign-up lists, parent responses - just about anything you might put on a paper form.
John: You don't say! Well, thanks a lot. I'm going hang up this phone and give it a try right now. I'll just wrap up in a blanket, move my orange juice and tissues over to my computer desk and take a spin at using forms. Sheesh! I'm never going to ignore a telemarketer again!
Telemarketer: Wait a second, there! We've only just started my questionnaire…