Using Movable Type to gather feedback online

For some time I've been thinking of hacking a Movable Type blog to drive an online contact form for our upcoming new corporate site. As a first stage, and proof of concept, I've built an MT-powered feedback form for gathering comments during the internal test launch that begins today. I'll try to document the full thing after we launch, but here is a preview on how it works and the benefits I expect from it. Meanwhile, for the technically inclined, I've followed the recipe of XML-RPC & Forms on Movalog.

The idea is to have a link on every page of the new site asking the internal testers for feedback through a form that is generated by a MT template:

feedback form

As you can see, the feedback is organized by categories:

feedback categories

Those categories are actually the categories (and sub-cats) defined in the blog, modifying those in MT automatically regenerates the feedback form:

MT feedback categories

Once the feedback has been submitted, a confirmation page comes up, giving the user the direct URL to their feedback on the internal blog:

feedback submitted

And here we are, the feedback as posted on the blog with additional captured metadata (referrer page, user agent and the identity of the poster):

feedbackentry.jpg

The idea behind this (apart from satisfying my need to prove that MT can do much more than mere blogging) is to gather, store and share our testers' feedback easily with the web team. This is a collaborative process that needs to remain easy, fast and flexible. The ability for anyone internally to see and comment on all the received feedback will (I hope) help us work faster to fine tune things before the big launch. And now I can track feedback via RSS on my aggregator :-).

The next step for me will be to drive our external contact form with a blog through a similar idea, again making use of categories. Those responsible for processing contact leads would track new contacts via RSS and/or email. Answers would be given simply by commenting on the post (the visitor being notified by email). The blog would give us a very simple way to track and archive all the requests and their given answers. A small CRM solution with a simple blog, easy and cheap but efficient, a good hack I think.

6 Comments

Can't wait for that hack to get fully documented!

Hi

How did you show the categories as a drop down list?

Will the XML-RPC & Forms artivle from Movalog help?

Matt

Matt > yes, it's explained in the linked article.

Francois,
Very nice idea and a nice integration. I have two questions, one of which has been somewhat posed already:

1. Your submission form.....could you possibly share the underlying code, or some tips on how you created it?

2. Are you aware of any way to have the posts submitted as drafts instead of actually being posted to the blog as published entries.

The script works wonderfully, but I would love to be able to modify it slightly to fit my need a little more closely.

YOu have a terrific site! Thanks for sharing your info with the rest of us!

DW

Hi there, I really like your post and what you did with the XML-RPC & Forms. However, I am having trouble as well in displaying the categories and simply getting the darn thing to work. Would you mind if you could share what you did as well.

Cheers,

Glad to read such a nice piece of information.

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