My other life
In between writing books and carting other books around Brisbane, to send to PNG, I have another life - that of a conference organiser.
CYA Conference is now in its 12th year and is next weekend... yip -
1st July 2017 came around quickly!
And about 18 months ago I put my hand up to volunteer to help run the Romance Writers Australia Brisbane Conference on 11 - 13th August, along with the amazing Kendal Talbot and Tania Joyce, we will be joined by close on 400 delegates and professionals, both International and Australian, at the King George Square, Pullman Hotel in just a few weeks.
So I have been really busy of late. 2 conference within just over a month of each other.
One of the online tool I have used during this time has been Jotform. Now, if I write a review for them, I get 50 additional forms added to my account. This month I could do with them more than ever. Because if I upgrade, I loose the amazing package I am on at present (having been with them for many years I still am on an older contract.) The new one will cost me more and I don’t want to change. So yes, I am doing a review instead... a crafty way Jotform have of getting their customers to put the word out there that they use them...
So what does Jotform do - and why have I relied on it?
To be honest - it drives me nuts. I have had times where if they had a call centre, I would have happily screamed at the operator. But they don’t - its all done by email... perhaps to stop just this type of abuse.
I couldn’t be doing what I do without some form on online platform that I can manage easily. I build forms in Jotform, from conference booking forms, to questionnaires to judging forms to attendance registers where people can upload their information to me, and I receive it in a logical format. It integrates with PayPal and I can receive payments. And is actually a handy tool to be able to use.
AND I don’t lose all that info in a waterfall of emails, as I can get it to save each lodgement, in the format I want it to in my DropBox. And the reports that I can construct, hold all the information coming in, in a logical format. They are awesome.
Now for someone running two conference, this should be easy - but not one form is the same across both conferences, each is custom built.
I have two accounts too - to keep my work separate. They are separate identities and need to be kept this way.
Logic says what works on one form should work on another - but we have had cases when its gone wrong. In grand style. And while the same widget has worked well in one account, in another it has given problems. This is technology, and don’t ask me to understand it, its just how it is.
Mostly, Jotform has attempted to help fix any major issues, usually overnight like fairies while I sleep... I wake up in the morning, and the problem is gone.
But sometimes not.
Know that when things go wrong - they can take a day or so to fix too, no matter how urgent it seems to the user. And getting to the bottom of what caused the problem is not always easy either. It could be your fault, but then it could be something that Jotform itself has done, and will or won’t admit to. So never discount that from your equation if there is a problem.
Sometimes my problem is put on a developers desk, and will be ‘seen to’ when they have a chance. For all these issues, I find a work around, and don’t wait for them to fix because I don’t know how long it will take. But they are few compared to those that they do fix quickly.
I have had my share of problems with them this year especially, but at the moment, Jotform is behaving itself, and technology is working and all is calm... and both conferences are ticking along nicely.
I am not putting facts and figured up because those are aways boring as hell, but know that as a conference organiser, my life is made easier by this online platform. I can only hope that Jotform continues to get better and better, as it does create a seamless working document vault to enable me to continue to do my job well.
So.. thats my review of Jotform.
Take it or leave it. But I need those free forms on my CYA Conference account!
Bye 4 now