Enter the automation era!

It’s not new, Market Research is doing badly.

A few years back, to improve profitability, most major MR institutes have been sub-contracting Survey Programming and Data Processing to Eastern Europe or Asia. This has not been enough. The next step to increase productivity is automation. The successful launch of Zappi Store has made every one acutely aware of this.

Zappi Store uses Millward Brown or Brainjuicer’s methodology to run very formatted studies, entirely automated at unbeatable costs. They have a survey with a few customisable parameters – say the name of the brand, the logo and a list of competitors. With that, they purchase the sample and produce a PowerPoint presentation with all the key (automated) findings.  Who needs researchers and analysts anymore? Actually you only need them once – to design the methodology.

At Askia, we have always known that automation was key to improving performance. At our last user conference, we presented what clients did to automate our system… and our system was always very easy to integrate in a larger enterprise ecosystem because not all of our clients use our full range. Some just collect data, some just analyse data with Askia. So we always conceived our software like bricks in a very heterogeneous Market Research wall.

The cement to these bricks is import and export to open standards but also to produce and document APIs: Application Programming Interface – that is entry points for your own geeks to play with our toys. And if you do not have your own geeks, don’t despair: some independent geeks have decided to integrate our APIs so you can automate Askia tasks.

With the new version of AskiaField (its very sexy name is 5.4.2), we have pushed automation to a new level. You can entirely control AskiaField from a custom made application – standalone app or even a web application. Eventually this means that the AskiaField Supervisor will be a web page. But in the meantime, you can write a piece of software that creates a survey script in XML, uploads it to AskiaField, makes it live as a web survey, creates a list from your customers database, email them, cleans the data by removing speeders with AskiaTools, analyses the data and produces a report that you can email every morning to your stakeholders or provides them with a dashboard.
Automation is the future – you are going to need a few more geeks… oh and some air freshener!

AskiaAnalyse: team me up, Scotty!

The software in the Askia range have been designed to work alongside each other.  If you know how your survey tree looks in Design, you will not be surprised by how it looks in Analyse. That’s the whole point of an integrated suite.

Analyse has mainly been designed to work with a single user, creating their weightings, calculated variables and filters in their QES file.

When we realised that a lot of our users were working on continuous surveys, we introduced Surf files: the analysis definitions were stored in the Surf files so there was no problem whenever you were adding more data.

However, there were two types of user for which Askia Analyse was not performing well:

1. People importing their data from an external source (e.g. triple-S, SAV, Dimensions etc)

They would import their data, maybe create a question tree structure in Design and create multiple questions or loops in Tools. Then they would create variables, weightings and sub-populations in Analyse and save their portfolios.

Now if there was any problem with the source data, such as, additional data or cleaning errors, the whole import would have to be done again. Of course, we provided ways to improve the speed of the process:

…but we wanted to make things quicker.

2. People within large teams

In large teams, a portfolio could be created by someone and run by someone else. It’s not always the same people who create the Surf file and use it. Again we had made sure that the portfolios can be shared. If someone created a sub-population within a portfolio, it would be re-created in Analyse but what about calculated variables, recodes and weightings?

To please all these users, we have implemented a new range of developments:

myView

Firstly, we have implemented myView: it lets users re-organise and hide variables as well as hide responses and automatically associate calculated or grouped responses to questions. It’s something we have given a lot of TLC to. Since the ‘my limited view’ definition is stored outside the QES or QEW (in an .mlv file), if your survey changes (after a re-import), the myView file can be re-used (and opened automatically).

Portfolio improvements

Secondly, we have stored a few more things in the portfolio. The weightings and even the calculated variables & recodes. This means that if you use any weighting or portfolio (as well as tab-template and sub-population), their definition will be saved in the portfolio. If you re-open that portfolio in a different QES or QEW, all these definitions will be re-created automatically! – If these already exist in the survey; the system will warn you if they are different.

Creating loops

Finally, an ambitious development scheduled for 5.3.5.5. We have decided to let people create loops in Analyse (well they are called levels, aren’t they?). This means even if you have data in Surf, you will easily be able to bring questions into loops without writing edits or transforming several files in Tools.

Askiaface for iOS 3.2.0

Today, we released askiaface for iOS 3.2.0 on the App Store. This update includes the following new features:

  • Kiosque mode for iPad
  • Schedule daily survey data sync

Kiosque mode

Askiaface iOS Kiosque mode screenshot

This new feature allows you to setup an askiaface for iOS (for iPad only) questionnaire as a Kiosque survey. A Kiosque survey enables you to provide a self-interviewing environment with the following:

  • Loop interviews: as soon as the current interview is completed, a new one is automatically generated and displayed on the tablet.
  • Secured kiosque mode: users can only exit Kiosque mode after providing the per Askiafield server password.
  • Inactive kiosque interview management: if no activity is detected on an in-progress Kiosque interview for at least x minutes, the application will abandon that interview and generate a new one. Of course, you decide on a per server basis the duration of the timeout.

Askiaface iOS Kiosque mode screenshot

Disclaimer: Kiosque mode is currently offered as a freely accessible trial. Access to this feature will be subject to specific licensing.

Schedule daily sync

To accompany the above new Kiosque mode, we’ve added the possibility to schedule daily survey data syncing.

Askiaface for iOS Scheduled Sync screenshot

This will allow you to synchronise all your survey data without having to operate each Kiosque devices. Even though this feature is only available on devices on which at least one Kiosque survey has been setup, it will sync data (interviews as well as questionnaire updates) for all available surveys on the device.

Askiaface for iOS Scheduled Sync screenshot

Access the Schedule Daily sync in the app’s sidebar and set the time of day to trigger the synchronisation. You’ll of course be able to deactivate feature when you no longer need it by simply toggling the Daily Sync switch.

Miscellaneous

As usual, we have also fixed some issues:

  • Various fixes on issues with keyboard input in the Settings view.
  • Fixed a performance issue in the app views.

This update is already available via the App Store and will soon be available on your favourite Android devices!

Our latest survey controls

In order to allow our users to further engage with their respondents, we have been relentlessly adding new survey controls to our software offering. These controls, also known as ADCs (Askia Design Controls) are freely accessible to all Askia users and allow extended customisation so they fit your needs.

Below, a selection of our latest survey controls:

Responsive Table

The Responsive Table ADC allows you to embed grid (matrix) questions in your survey without having to worry about mobile and tablet respondents. The table will expand / collapse depending on your respondent’s available screen real estate.

Responsive Table Askia Design Control demo

Check out the demo survey and resize your browser to see it in action. You can also check out the dedicated knowledge base article for the full-blown details and example questionnaire.

Video

The Video ADC allows you to easily embed an .MP4 video file in your survey with all the necessary options:

  • Auto-play video
  • Show media controls (play, pause, volume & full-screen)
  • Auto-submit question after video

Video Askia Design Control screenshot

Take a look at our demo survey for this control or go through the KB article for more information.

Audio

Much like the above ADC, the Audio survey control allows you to embed an .MP3 audio file in your survey with the following settings:

  • Auto-play audio file
  • Show media controls (play, pause & volume control)
  • Auto-submit question after audio

You can play around with our demo survey or check out the dedicated article to get started.

Open

We have always provided default text inputs for our open-ended questions but this survey control will supercharge such questions with nifty options:

  • Character count / max character count
  • Email input validation
  • Password input

Open Askia Design Control demo

Access the demo survey to see it in action and check out the knowledge base article for more in-depth information.

Image Lightbox

Displaying images in your survey is straightforward but sometimes you need your respondents to actually be able to view image details and benefit from a larger version of the image in order to answer a question. This is where this ADC will help as it will allow you to provide a larger render of your image without the hassle of laying out your survey page for a wider / higher image (especially when your respondents are accessing your survey from a mobile device).

Image Lightbox Askia Design Control demo

As usual, take our demo survey for a spin or head directly to the dedicated KB article for all the details.

New Knowledge Base articles!

We’ve been adding a host of new articles and survey resources to our Help Centre; here are some of the most noteworthy of them:

Quota Monitoring for Analyse & Vista

This article shows the use of the Read quota function in a Closed by scripts created variable. We combine this function with table arithmetic scripts to create a portfolio that will allow you to monitor the progress of your quotas as new data is collected. The examples are shown in Analyse and Vista 6.

This simple yet complete solution only requires you use the latest version of AskiaVista (6.0.3.8) and Analyse (5.3.5.2) and higher; of course, you’ll also need a survey with at least one quota question with some data!

Quota Monitoring in AskiaAnalyse screenshot
Quota Monitoring in AskiaAnalyse
Quota Monitoring in AskiaVista screenshot
Quota Monitoring in AskiaVista

Check the example Quota Monitoring setup in AskiaVista online and read the full article to start monitoring your quota management during fieldwork!

Using table arithmetics to lookup other tables

This article details the use of arithmetic calculations to look up data from one table layout (broken into separate tables by edge response) into another table layout (summary in single table).

Basically, the idea is to create a new tab definition which has the structure required and then do a lookup of the values from the original table(s) into this new table (by using the GetTable method). The original tables are broken by edge response to produce 7 tables:

Using table arithmetic to lookup other tables 01

The goal is to obtain the results as below with the attached table structure:

Using table arithmetic to lookup other tables 02

Check out the full article.

Programming Col Sig (means): Classical Student Test

This article demonstrates how to script the formula for Student Test and Student Test using estimator for testing means. Formula and syntax are shown for tables using regular mean calculations as well as Script (mean) calculations which would be used in a mean summary table.

The article details how to program Column Significance tests for means using both the Classical Student test as well as the Student test using estimator.

You can read the article and check the attached example .QES & Portfolio.

How to disable input on Numeric keypad

This article provides a simple snippet of JavaScript to allow you to disable input from the respondent’s or interviewer’s Numeric keypad.

This snippet works for askiaweb as well as askiavoice and askiaface (when using web screens).

Read the full article to start using the code snippet.

Design FAQ

Rather than an article, this Help Centre page list many of the most frequently asked questions concerning askiadesign. Here are some examples of such questions:

  • How should I name my survey questions?
  • How can I change the default theme for my surveys?
  • Is my version of askiadesign up-to-date?

There are many more such questions, so don’t hesitate to check out the FAQ page to see what it’s all about!

Embed an online video in a questionnaire

This article demonstrate the process of embedding video content from an online video source (e.g Youtube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, …) in your survey:

Embed an online video in an Askia survey screenshot

See the article so you can setup your own Rick Astley survey :)

New ADC: map

A new map Askia Design Control! This one is a bit particular as it allows you to many different maps for your survey controls:

  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Italy

Below, some of the maps:

France map survey control screenshot
France map survey control
USA map survey control screenshot
USA map survey control

Download the new map ADC.

New ADC: pinboard

This brand new Askia Design Control allows you to provide rating-like annotations to one or more images. It is extremely simple to add to your survey as it only requires an open-ended question in a nested loop.

See the video demo below:

You can also take a look at the source article to pick up the ADC or the example survey.

New ADC: auto-complete

This last Askia Design Control allows you to provide a searchable list of responses to your interviewers and/or respondents. This simple survey control just requires an open-ended question and the data source for the responses (XLS, XLSX, CSV, … converted to JSON).

See the below video introduction:

You can once again read the original article to download the ADC and check out the example survey.

Askia reporting back from Printemps des Etudes 2016

The Askia team just returned from Printemps des Etudes 2016, which was held this year again at prestigious Palais Brongniart in Paris on 15th and 16th April. Askia was on stand #5 – very fitting for the 5th edition of this event which has asserted itself as the definitive market research show in France. We’re happy to report that this 5th edition was very successful, with perhaps the best traffic of the whole 5 years on Thursday.

To mark this milestone, the organisers had invited Martin Sorrell who kicked-off the event with a keynote on the state of the market research industry. A thought-provoking conference in English with simultaneous translation, it was the perfect introduction to 2 days filled with conferences, workshops and rendez-vous.

Meanwhile in the exhibition area, the Askia stand focused on a topic that is at the heart of everything we do: innovation. Visitors were intrigued by “The Engager”, a giant touch screen tablet which the team used to demo our best-selling products such as AskiaVista, or to give a sneak preview of our future releases e.g. Design 6.

Askia team with the Engager at Printemps des Etudes

When not giving a demo or organising an impromptu meeting, our team spent their time catching up with clients over a glass of champagne and canapes and collecting business cards for our very special prize draw, which was held on the stand on Friday afternoon. Congratulations to our 3 winners:

  • Mathieu DOMBRIE from BVA, the happy winner of a Samsung Galaxy Tablet
  • Karl- Heinz Baumann, from the IPI Institute in Stuttgart, winner of a connected smart watch
  • And Cyril LOPEZ from ETIC Alta, who won a Max Jumping Race mini-drone

A big thank you to everyone who stopped by the Askia stand this year.

We are now getting ready for the next two conferences on our agenda: CASRO Tech in New York on June 6-7th and IIex Atlanta on June 13-15. If you are planning to attend either of these two events, please drop us a message at contact@askia.com to schedule a meeting or an informal chat.

Askiaface for iOS 3.1.1 released!

We are pleased to announce that we have just released an update to askiaface for iOS: version 3.1.1. This update includes the following improvements and fixes:

  • Updated Base SDK to iOS 9.3
  • Added Remove survey feature
  • Integrated UI for remove survey feature
  • Added specific warning when deleting a survey with / without interviews
  • Fix when resuming interview on a preliminary selection loops
  • Fix on response blocks that contain MS Word’s `…` special character

Delete survey

The main feature, Delete survey, allows you to remove an available survey from the list of questionnaires:

Remove survey in askiaface for iOS screenshot

If ever you remove a survey for which you still have complete and/or incomplete interviews that have not been synced back to the askiafield server, the iOS app will warn you and require you synchronise your data before removing the survey:

Remove survey warning in askiaface for iOS screenshot

Once all local interviews for that survey have been synced, you can delete the survey:

Remove survey confirmation in askiaface for iOS screenshot

Base SDK updated

We have updated the base SDK used to build askiaface for iOS to version 9.3 (the latest available) in order to benefit from various performance improvements and fixes. The application now supports devices running iOS 8+, iOS 7.x is no longer supported.

This update is available directly from the App Store so head there to get the update!

Askia’s mission, vision & values

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Askia; a time to celebrate, but also to reflect on the corporate equivalent of existential questions: our mission, vision and core values.
These 3 business concepts can seem abstract at first, yet they are essential. Imagine a football team whose players don’t know the rules of the game and how to play it or an architect without a vision of what the building will be used by and for which purpose.

We all need aspiration and destination in life. Businesses are no exception. Defining mission and vision statements as well as core values isn’t a pastime for idle executives: it’s a process that can be difficult and exhilarating in equal measure – and it’s always enlightening.
At Askia we’ve taken the process very seriously and we’re proud to share the results of our work with you. We hope it will help you understand better who we are, what we do and why we do it. Perhaps you’ll even get a glimpse of what we will be in another 20 years from now

Our Mission

This is what we do, how we do it and for whom we do it.

Our mission is to empower the Market Research industry by providing integrated end-to-end technical solutions delivered by passionate people.


Our Vision

This is our direction, our motto.

We want to be the technology partner of choice for visionary Market Research agencies.


Our Core Values

Central to who we are, they are the guidelines for how we do things

People-focused “We don’t solve problems… We help people”
Partners “Not just another supplier”
Committed “A team of professionals, experts in their field, committed to excellence”
Different “We take an open-minded approach to business and encourage new ideas”
Passionate “It’s not a job. We love to do what we do and take pride in our achievements”

A big thanks to the entire Askia team who help make these statements and values come to life every single day.

Verve adopts Platform One

Community Panels specialists, Verve, founded in 2008 and with offices in London, Leeds, Chicago and Toronto, conducts full-service market research whether it be online, offline, qual, quant or mobile.

By utilizing the power of their clients’ Community Panel assets, Verve provides online spaces where dialogue with customers can take place. This could be small Community Panels of say 50-100 panelists, permanent spaces of 100,000 or more, and everything in between.

Verve’s Technology Director Amyas Peto told us that Askia’s advances into panel management systems with Platform One, the first genuinely unified Insights Management Platform, have had an enormously positive effect on their business. He said that “being able to fully automate the collation of all survey and profiling data, as well as website data, into a single, central location, along with the significantly enhanced data querying that this allows, has had a huge impact on our efficiency and the level of service we are able to offer our clients.”

Peto went on to add that “this combined with the continued evolution of the JavaScript controls and the ADC scripts has, I believe, put Askia at the top of the list when looking for a software provider to provide the sort of functionality and capabilities that our clients demand.”

If you’d like to learn more about what Platform One has to offer and you have as little as 3 minutes 25 seconds to spare, you can check out our explainer video:

Playing with D3js and AskiaVista

As you may already know, we added support for the Highcharts visualisation library as of version 6.0 of askiavista; and while it provides all the necessary visualisation needs for our online data analysis application, we had designed askiavista’s API to be agnostic when it comes to charting libraries.

From our initial use of NevronDundas Charts in version 5 to our use of Google Charts in one our initial demos of askiavista’s AJAX capabilities, we have always wanted to provide our users with the flexibility to chose their preferred charting library.

One such library we have always wanted to play around with is the amazing open source D3js visualisation components. This JavaScript library that produces dynamic, interactive data visualisations in web browsers. It makes use of the widely implemented SVG, HTML5 and CSS standards. While, D3 provides all basic types of charting components (bar, column, pie, area, …), it also provides many more advanced visualisations.

We have therefore played with both of those types of charts; from simple visualisations:

Classic bar chart

Diverging Stacked Bar Chart

… to more complex and advanced charts:

Sunburst Chart

Bubble Cross Tab

These Lab type demos are hooked up from a classic Askia survey via askiavista’s API to the D3 components. While D3 is not integrated by default in our API tooling, it is a simple proof-of-concept of such an implementation.

To view all the components we played around with, check out the full demo! Props to Brice de la Brière for making this possible!