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Making Surveys, Making Decisions

The Apian Blog

Quick and Easy Pop-Up Web Polls – Tutorial

We’ve created a new tutorial about how to make Pop-up web polls with SurveyPro. It includes a sample file to download and the steps to create one from scratch. These are useful for getting visitor participation on your website and helping engage your audience.

Here’s a Demo

The tutorial is here.

Using Previous SurveyPro Files as Templates for New Projects

Do you have a favorite SurveyPro project that you keep going back to, time after time, reusing and repurposing it for other projects?  Do you take last year’s project and use it as a base for this year’s project?

Reusing SurveyPro project files can be a time and cost effective way to create and publish a survey in a short amount of time.  Keeping the questionnaire editing to a minimum, you can quickly publish your survey and move on to other important business matters.  We have some “best practices” to suggest for keeping your SurveyPro project files uncluttered and lean.  Reducing the time that SurveyPro requires to generate reports and keeping the Executive Summary and Data Table Reports from showing empty report figures are just some of the benefits that a little light ‘housekeeping’ will bring.

The SurveyPro Knowledgebase article “Using Previous SurveyPro Files as Templates for New Projects” discusses how to keep your SurveyPro database lean and uncluttered with the debris accumulated over years of questionnaire modifications.

Old-School Technology for Anonymity + Ballot-Stuffing Prevention

For many sensitive web surveys, such as employee or patient surveys, there are two problems that online survey software alone can’t solve.  http://apian.com/software/surveypro/web.php

Problem #1: people only open up when they know they’re completely anonymous
Problem #2: when they’re completely anonymous, you can’t keep them from stuffing the ballot box.

Cookies and logging IP addresses are both flawed.  Cookies can be easily deleted, and both interfere with responses from people who share computers.  This is unworkable with, say, factory floor or medical staff who use a shared computer.  How to solve both problems at once for your online survey?

One way is to hire SurveyHost for third-party confidentiality.  http://apian.com/services/surveyhost/  We can send out the emails for you, with individual passwords to prevent multiple submissions.  You can tell your staff you don’t have access to the passwords, and sometimes this is sufficient for most respondents.

Or, you can go completely old school after you create your web survey with SurveyPro.  Just mail merge the passwords onto postcards.  Shuffle the postcards in front of your respondents and pass them out, one each.  Everyone knows they’re not being tracked.

Problem solved.

I Make Decisions Every Day – But Getting My Org On Board is a Nightmare

Our President, Bill Ray, used to work at a couple of Very Large and Important Technology Firms (who shall remain nameless when we’re discussing their political downsides).  He recalls his middle management days, full of endless meetings and few steps forward.  It’s so easy to get stuck in “analysis paralysis,” endlessly discussing points that may not matter to the final decision.

DecisionPad lets you tightly focus discussion on only the elements that matter.

DecisionPad Impact Arrows

DecisionPad Impact Arrows

Each arrow shows an item that affects the final outcome.  A fat arrow means it matters a lot.  A skinny arrow means it matters a little.  No arrow = a way to get people to MOVE ON!  If the item isn’t impacting the final rankings, there’s really no need to keep debating whether the process quality controls are good or excellent.

Learn More about DecisionPad:  http://apian.com/landing/groups.php

Web + Paper Surveys = 70% Response Rate for SurveyPro User

Postal Solutions in Belgium needed survey software for a large scale survey across 150 countries.  They found what we’ve long told our customers – when you add web options to a paper survey, you maximize your response rates.  http://apian.com/about/casestudies/postal.php

If you’re already doing surveys on the web, you know how effective it is. http://apian.com/software/surveypro/web.php  But what if you serve a population that doesn’t always have ready access to computers?  A lot of organizations think that because some of their respondents can only use paper, they need to “least common denominator” their survey and only deploy on paper.  This just isn’t true!

You can easily combine both media.  SurveyPro can do the analysis together, combining their data into integrated reports.  Just copy your paper survey, format for the web, and add a sentence at the top of your paper surveys:

“To take this survey on the web, please visit www…” 

Postal Solutions offered both media to their respondents, and got a 70% response rate.  Now if that’s not a solid endorsement…

I Make Decisions Every Day – Why Do I Need Software For It?

Sure, we all make decisions every day – most of them great choices!  But some decisions lend themselves to a bit more structure.  Either we use decision software to organize the decision and crunch a lot of data, or we might need it for documenting what we’ve decided.

For help with organizing, DecisionPad decision support software breaks the decision process down into 5 easy steps.  http://apian.com/landing/decision-process.php  It’s easy to list all your options, decide how to evaluate them, and then input information about each of your choices.  DecisionPad does all the crunching to save you having to do any calculations.  Best of all, DecisionPad eliminates unconscious bias.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but when a sales person makes a really great presentation and keeps me laughing, I can be persuaded by that!  Using DecisionPad lets me focus on the objective information and make sure I’m making my decision based on what’s most important to me.  Check out our 5 easy steps:  http://apian.com/landing/decision-process.php.

Welcome to the Apian Software Blog!

All about what’s new, fresh, and very occasionally, funny. We’ll be telling you about:

New Releases

  • Tips for using our software
  • Custom programming tricks
  • Upcoming events, training classes
  • Helpful information about surveys and decisions.

Let us know what you think, what you’d like to see more of! We’ve got a lot of product information to share, and are delighted to have this new medium.