If you work for a government, chances are you work with many different types of standardized processes involving complicated flow charts, paper forms, or clunky legacy technology. In today's fast-paced web-based world, these can be extremely difficult to manage.

Here's a quick review of how our software works:

ClearForms is a simple, low-cost platform that lets you create online versions of government processes, making them simpler, faster, and more effective without the need for technical knowledge, IT support, or expensive custom software. Because you or someone on your team does the setup themselves, you're always in control of how things work on ClearForms. And, because we're "self-service" technology, we can provide governments with access to excellent digital tools at extremely low cost.

Getting started

When you subscribe to ClearForms, you'll be connected to your Customer Support manager who will help you bring your first workflows online. You'll have a series of trainings and soon be ready to building on your own!

For the sake of simplicity, let's assume you'd like to offer your constituents the ability to request a street closure permit online. After creating an account, the first thing you'll see is your Dashboard, where you can create a new Workflow.

Building your 1st permit, license (your first Workflow)

To create your first process click on the "Create your first workflow" button to get stared.

In the future you can visit the Workflows page from the navigation link at the top of the to view all your current workflows and create new ones.

Click on Create New Workflow on the Workflows page (at the bottom of your existing workflows) to add a new one to your account.

Adding steps to your workflow

Once you have created your first workflow, you'll need to add a title and then add steps, one for each component of the process. The workflow editor supports a wide variety of functions including sharing instructions and requirements (basic steps), forms (collect information steps), reviews, and payments. For each step, you'll decide whether it's done by an applicant or by someone inside of your organization and you can specify things like automatic status notifications and timeframes.

Continue adding steps until you've completed your workflow. The image below is from the setup for a Collect Information step - you can accept lots of different types of information through ClearForms, and the system will automatically make sure the data is entered correctly. For example, if you want to collect an email address, the applicant won't be able to go forward until their answer is in the form of an email address. Here's a list of the data types you can pick from when you're setting up a Collect Information step:

  • Text

  • Paragraph Text

  • Email

  • Date (Date/ Date and Time/ Time)

  • Date Range

  • File (yes, we support and store uploaded files!)

  • Number (with or without decimal)

  • Money

  • Phone number (U.S. format)

  • Address (automatically geocoded and mapped)

  • Multiple choice (applicant chooses one answer)

  • Checkbox (applicant chooses one or more answers)

ClearForms makes it easy to add or remove questions, and add or change the order of steps. You can also add Logic to your forms, so that questions appear based on the answers to previous questions.

And ClearForms isn't just for online forms, it also works to track what you do behind the scenes for every application - things like getting review and approvals and collecting community feedback/ survey responses all happen on the platform (and are easy to do on mobile or desktop).

Super Powers: cloning a process lets you get started quickly

You can also clone an existing sample process or a process that's already been implemented by another government and then adapt it to your needs. This allows you see what's been working well for other governments and also helps your team roll out processes to the public more rapidly. Check out our help doc page on how to clone a process . Here's a set of workflows from other governments set up for easy copying and customization.

Customizing the look and feel of your workflow and configuring settings

Once you've got a workflow set up, you can start to customize the look and feel of it through changing the banner image and adding a description. You can also add users to the workflow and to your Team. Teams are where you add your government's logo and configure your payouts. Once you've shared the workflow with your colleagues, configured all the Settings and tested it out, you're ready to publish and set it live by sharing the link.

Add your new workflow to your organization's website

Once you've published your process, ClearForms will give you a link to share with your constituents. If you already have a place on your website with information about the workflow, simply add link to that page. You can also share your ClearForms links via email, social media, or through media coverage or newsletters. We find that once constituents have the option for online access, up to 85% of them switch to a digital process within the first year.

Try it out

When constituents click the link, they'll be guided through the permitting process from start to finish.

And you'll be able to see everything your constituents are doing from your admin dashboard.

You can also visit the Overview tab on the Edit workflow screen (after the workflow has been published) to get more insights about how it's being used, how much revenue you're generating, and more.

Every public ClearForms process automatically creates basic open data - no need to send things to a separate open data portal. You control which fields and information are included in the public open data when you set up your Workflow. And for people who still really feel more comfortable with paper, there's always an option to download a PDF record of their application. You can also create a totally custom PDF output via the Output section.

Want to learn more?

You can find lots more information from an applicant, administrator, and government employee perspective in our Help and Support section.

Did this answer your question?