Version 2.9 – Improving User Experience

We’re very excited to announce the release of version 2.9 of Ninja Forms! Version 2.9 has been in the works for about three months, and we can’t wait to reveal it to the world.

The focus of this release is a much improved form creation experience. We’ve listened to user feedback over the past two years and think that we’ve been able to remove several pain-points when it comes to creating forms with Ninja Forms.

Performance

Since its creation, Ninja Forms has had a major, systemic issue: saving longer forms often required editing a php.ini file. This has been our single biggest support request. If the form became too large, editing it would cause a massive amount of data to be submitted to the server, which would in turn cause the page to crash, failing to save the data. We know that this has frustrated our users, and we haven’t enjoyed it either. It’s not much fun to ask people to edit server variables; some shared hosts won’t even let you access those files.

Version 2.9 solves this problem, while also making the form builder much more efficient. In our local tests, a 578 field form was 12.8mb and took 33.52 seconds to load. (It also occasionally crashed our browser.) In version 2.9, the same form was only 1.2mb and took only 1.41 seconds to load. We call that progress. 🙂

Building a Form

When you click to add a new form or edit an existing one, instead of being met with a page filled with confusing form settings, you’re taken directly to the place you want to be: form building.

Form Builder

Here, you’ll add all of your fields and configure them just the way you want. To that end, we’ve also made a concerted effort to improve the field settings area by making it easier to read and less overwhelming.

Field Settings

Expanding a textbox field shows only the necessities.

Non-essential settings have been moved into various sections underneath each field, making it easier to find the settings you’re looking for. This settings area will improve even more over time, but we think you’ll agree that it makes creating a form much simpler.

Field Settings Expanded

Expanding the “Restrictions” section allows you to access Required, Input Masks, and more.

 Emails & Actions

In this release, we’ve changed the name of the “Notifications” tab to “Emails & Actions.” This may seem like a minor change, but it has larger implications. First, it’s a much clearer description of what we envision the tab to be about: letting the user decide what happens when a form is submitted. It didn’t make much sense to have things like redirects and success messages underneath a tab labelled “Notifications.” Ultimately, we’d like to see more and more extensions make use of the “Emails & Actions” tab to give users power over what happens when someone completes their form. Text Message Notifications, for instance, does a great job of this; you can set your text messages up using the “Emails & Actions” tab, which means that you can have as many as you want, and they can be affected by the Conditional Logic extension. With both, you could send a text message to different numbers, depending upon a user’s selections in the form.

Overall, we’re very happy with this release. It gives users a better form building experience within our current framework, and it lays the groundwork for even better stuff to come down the road.