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By Ken Westin
August 22, 2005
August 22, 2005 11:52 PM
similar but completely FREE ones out there…
August 23, 2005 7:17 AM
The free ones I tried never even came close as far as collecting data, offering optional patths based on responces and filtering and reviewing data.
August 23, 2005 7:18 AM
Too true. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
August 23, 2005 9:32 AM
We are considering adopting an Open Source survey tool that appears to have a great deal of flexibility based on our assessment so far.
If you have the ability to grab an application and potentially tweak it yourself (and you run LAMP as your tech infrastructure), you may want to have a look at a PHP survey system called The Unit Command Climate Assessment and Survey System (UCCASS) from Big Red Spark.
August 23, 2005 10:30 AM
Excellent summary, Ken, of a very helpful tool. Like you, I’ve been using SurveyMonkey for a couple of years with fine results. And the professional subscription remains a great bargain.
Also like you, there are a number of enhancements I’d like to see—more robust conditional branching, the ability to insert images into question and a greater number of colors in the design palette are some examples.
One caution: With all of its power, it can be easy to get in over your survey-skills head. The ease of delivering surveys on SurveyMonkey does not lessen the critical importance of sound survey design.
August 23, 2005 12:16 PM
Good point Dave. I have used SurveyMonkey here on Digital Web Magazine for years. We used it for our redesign survey and our annual readership survey. We have also had our share of mistakes in survey design and have worked to fix them over the years best we could. I can’t emphasise the need to have at least one other person review your work and someone do several test runs of the survey before relasing it into the wild. Live and learn I guess. That said, all of the comments about future expansions and improvements are exactly on the mark from my experiences with the tool. Thanks for the great feedback, let’s hope Survey Monkey is listening.
August 23, 2005 3:38 PM
Survey Monkey is great for general use, but anyone doing any real market research work just won’t find the depth of options that are needed. One of my best clients does research, and every single one of their surveys are different, and have very specific requirements that something like Survey Monkey can’t provide. (Although Dax’ link to UCCASS looks interesting)
August 28, 2005 12:13 PM
Having just experienced several Survey Monkey created surveys, my comment is related to the accessibility of these surveys for people with disabilities using adaptive technology.
The products/surveys are not at all accessible for people using adaptive technology.
I’m not sure if survey authors are neglecting to check a “make this accessible” button or if it is a major failure of the product. As one person commented in a previous post, you get what you pay for and this tool seems to provide no support for accessibility and usability for anyone who has a disability.
As a web designer, can I create surveys using a screen reader? If I were totally blind, could I create a survey even if I can’t fill it out? Are people using this tool even considering accessibility or even legislation around accessibility in their respective countries?
November 17, 2005 6:45 AM
Who do you contact when the entire site is down and you are in the middle of a survey? YIKES!
November 17, 2005 7:30 AM
exactly—I’m in the same boat and can’t even find a phone number…
November 22, 2005 7:20 PM
I’ve used this before and was very happy. However, after submitting my last list survey, my list names started generating a lot of bad email spam. I strongly suspect abuses generated thru Surveymonkey because this is the ONLY place I use some of the email names that have now been corrupted. I’d like to hear from them about their practices for protecting against email phishing.
November 28, 2005 5:56 PM
DT, hmm interesting point. I would also point out that you don’t actually have to store the emails of the participants in their database. For example, we here at Digital Web Magazine run our annual reader survey through SurveyMonkey and we just link to the survey.. no email addresses stored anywhere on their servers. The only email they have is for the account owner, and in my case I use a special email address that is for just this purpose. So, it seems to work well that way. For the record, I haven’t every created participant lists like you have so that may be something to be concerned about, but my point is that you don’t have to rely on that method of distrobution in all cases.
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