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.

Presenting ADXStudio

ADXStudio is here!!

What is it?

ADXStudio is an IDE for people who want to create Askia Design Control (and later Askia Design Page) easier and faster. This application can support AskiaScript, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, … and more.

ADXStudio was built with Electron, this application is based on NodeJS. Furthermore, we have included CodeMirror (already used in Design and Vista) to get a complete text editor with syntax highlighting and autocompletion.

Installation

To install ADXStudio, follow the procedure available here.

ADXStudio is available on Github and everyone who wants to contribute can download the source code and send us a pull request.

A little bit of ADXStudio:

Check the documentation to learn how to create ADCs:

The TreeView :

It’s the left part of the app in which you can see your project.

ADXStudio-Treeview

New Project:

In the Menu bar (at the top of the application window): go to “File” and click on “New Project” to generate and open a new ADC Structure !

ADXStudio-NewProject

Workspace :

The Workspace part of the application, is the panel located on the right of the window. You can edit your text inside with syntax colouring and autocompletion for AskiaScript, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Markdown.

ADXStudio-Workspace

Project Settings :

The project Settings view allows you to see and define the settings of your current project (author, project name, …) and is accessible through File menu -> Projects settings.

ADXStudio-ProjectsSettings

Preview + Property Grid :

The preview can be accessed from the “Tools” menu item. Click Preview when your ADC project is open to trigger a preview of your currently opened ADC. The property Grid, visible at the bottom of the preview, let’s you change the properties of your control and preview the result.

ADXStudio-Preview

Build your Askia Design Control :

Finally, to build your .adc control -> select “Build” from the Tools menu. ADXStudio will create the .adc file in the bin folder of your project.

Is Askia compatible with Windows 10 ?

AskiaSuite

Starting from version 5.3.5 of AskiaSuite (askiadesign & askiaanalyse), our beloved swiss-army knife software suite is compatible with Windows 10.
AskiaSuite 5.3.3 is NOT yet compatible (as of November 2015) with Windows 10.
Please check the comments below to see the latest update.

Supervisor & CATI

While askiafield 5.3.3 appears to be compatible, we recommend using the latest 5.3.5 versions, for the sake of matching your AskiaSuite version.

Web-based applications

Our browser-based applications, such as askiavista or askiaweb are not affected by client OS changes and thus remain compatible.

Happy upgrade!

 

New version 5.3.5.0 of askiadesign

We’re excited to announce that a new version (5.3.5.0) of askiadesign is available; as usual, this update contains some nice new features as well as some dead bugs!

Update question properties globally or for a set of questions

We have added a new “Set questions” menu when right-clicking a question in the treeview. You can choose to activate/deactivate four options:

  • Allow Don’t Know
  • Visible
  • Ordered responses
  • Visible in Analyse

PrintScreen1

New “Change the response order” routing

In the same way we use the “Change order” routing to randomize questions, we can now manually specify the order of the responses shown using the new “Change the response order” routing.

PrintScreen4

New shortcuts for routings

You can now use Ctrl + C / Ctrl + V to copy and paste routings and also Alt + Up / Alt + Down to move routings up and down.

Filter view improvement in the routing mode

There are now 4 options available to filter the routings summary view:

  • All routings (view all routings of the questionnaire)
  • After selected question (view the routings where the start question is the one selected in the question tree)
  • Targeting selected question (view the routings where the target question is the one selected in the question tree)
  • Involving selected question (view the routings where the start or target question or any script referring to the selected one in the treeview)

PrintScreen2

Script window improvement

We have improved the dialog to create askia scripts and integrated into the HTML code an interactive help about the current question
allowing you to search responses and insert a range of responses.
We have also removed the obsolete win32 controls to allow more real estate to the script itself.

PrintScreen3

More keywords for the askia scripts

We have added the new Interview object to the askia scripts and implemented the following properties:

  • Interview.Broker
  • Interview.BrokerPanelID
  • Interview.GUID
  • Interview.IPAddress
  • Interview.Latitude
  • Interview.Longitude
  • Interview.PanelID
  • Interview.Progress
  • Interview.Seed
  • Interview.ToString
  • Interview.TypeOf

We have also added the StdDevEst which works on numerical array. The StdDev is equivalent to STDEV.P and StdDevEst to STDEV.S in Microsoft Excel.

Property view allowing HTML preview in realtime

We have added a property view which allows users to change settings in any of the controls (including ADC) without having to right-click “Properties”, change the settings, click apply, view in HTML mode.

PrintScreen5

The complete list of new features and bug fixes can be found here.

Askia Design Controls now available on Github

We’re thrilled to announce that all our Askia Design Controls 2.0 (ADC) have been made available on Github for all developer users who wish to take part creating these survey controls.

ADCs are web-based (HTML, JavaScript & CSS) rich survey controls that enhance the experience of your respondents. Available for web, tablet and mobile surveys, ADCs replace the default radio buttons, checkboxes, text inputs, … by more interactive, playful and animated survey controls.

Below, some examples of Askia Design Controls:

Drag and drop

Drag and drop ADC

(click the above image to check out the live demo)

Smiley rating

Star rating ADC

(click the above image to check out the live demo)

Granite controls (in-progress):

Granite ADC

More than 20 of these survey controls are now accessible to all and many more are on their way!

We have extended the way we have been working with these controls internally at Askia; instead of keeping design, development and maintenance of ADCs within the realm of our development team, we have trained a large part of our support team who are now able to contribute! So, instead of two developers working on ADCs, we now have a team of 7 collaborators and many more clients of our working on their own ADCs (big shout-out to them!)!

You can now easily download and collaborate with our team to improve these survey controls, add new controls, fix any issues you spotted or just make these controls your own!

You can either just download any ADC you want by using the ‘Download ZIP’ button if you do not wish to contribute but just use of one of the available ADCs on Github:

Download ZIP archive of an ADC

Or, if you want to fork our repos to further contribute and collaborate with us on these projects, just sign up for a free Github account and you’ll be in within minutes! This will allow you to create your own branches, create issues, add new repositories, …

Of course, all of our ADCs remain available for non-developer users in our Help Centre for use in askiadesign; they can all be downloaded, previewed in demo surveys and are all fully documented.

Version 5.3.4.0: askiadesign

This post is the first in a series of two that detail the key features of version 5.3.4.0 of askiadesign & askiaanalyse.

In askiadesign 5.2.2, we introduced new controls into our library, the ADC (Askia Design Controls).

It gives you the possibility to select which controls you would like to use on your web screen and simply drag and drop the selected control onto the screen. 

Each one of these ADCs is shipped with many settings that will allow you to fine-tune and customise the rendering of the controls

Version 1 of the Askia Design Controls (ADC 1.0) was based on Adobe Flash.

In askiadesign 5.3.3, we created the first set of new ADC 2.0 controls which are JavaScript-based.

These controls are therefore compatible with all devices and the controls includes intelligent fallbacks so if JavaScript is not enabled the controls generate classical HTML controls. 

As with ADC 1.0 (Flash), ADC 2.0 allows you to customise the appearance as well as the interaction of your survey controls by giving you access to their design parameters.

Askia Design Controls in askiadesign

When generating the screens in HTML, we can also automatically associate an ADC to a given type of questions.

We can assign different controls to single, multiple or grid questions and predefine their properties.

Screen generation options for ADCs in askiadesign

In askiadesign 5.3.4.0, we have improved the management of question compatibility when you drag and drop an ADC to a response block.

AskiaDesign checks if a control requires a loop or not.

It also indicates the list of questions types it was designed for when it indicates the control is not compatible.

ADC compatibility in askiadesign

Askiadesign  automatically creates a response block when dragging an ADC on to incompatible screens.

Below the list of gender are as classical responses but the ADC should be applied to a response block.

Automatically generate response blocks for ADCs in askiadesign

After the drag and drop of the ADC, the list of classical responses is automatically transformed into a response block and the selected ADC was applied as well.

Askia Design Control generated in askiadesign

Have a look at the list of ADC 1.0  and ADC 2.0 controls.

The Electric Kool-Aid Askia Test

Abstract: Survey scripting and coding have lots in common and we should bring testing techniques into Survey Design. For this we have improved Random Data Generation and created a new Tools module called “Script Verification”.

SurveyMonkey, Google consumer surveys and other disruptive DIY technologies have changed the Market Research industry. Any marketing director can put together an online survey, get sample from a number of panel providers and have results to their strategic questions in hours.

But Askia software is not designed for marketing directors. It has been conceived for survey specialists, scripters, data processors who design and analyse complex surveys – sometimes long, sometimes algorithmically challenging, over long periods of time and eventually collecting millions of records. And with our target audience in mind we are continually improving our range of software. We want any design to be achievable, any layout, any number of records. It would be an exaggeration to call it Big Data but let’s say we specialise in “Medium Data”.

On the subject of interview data, I will only mention that in the last 2 years we have completely overhauled our way of storing data in SQL Server (5.3.3) and a new compressed inverted data format (5.3.4). But I am digressing, the subject of this article is about methodologically managing complexity.

Managing complexity with Askia's survey software

The challenge with complexity is that it invariably leads to human errors, their number exponentially growing with size, harder to spot and often too late. The thing is we, as programmers, know about complexity. Askia software is made up of millions of lines of code and, as some of you may have fleetingly experienced, it sometimes breaks. And, believe it or not, we coders have an aspiration to perfection: we constantly try new methodological or technical ways of testing our software so it works smoothly the second we release it. But any program that does anything more than sorting three numbers is bound to break and we have to live with the fact that we will always deliver short of what we wished for – but hopefully learn from past mistakes.

Survey scripting is programming – unfortunately Market Research tools are a little bit behind (yes we are aware of our responsibility there). Our first version of Design in 1994 was attempting to mimic the revolution Visual Basic brought to the programming world in 1991. All basic functionalities were available in a Graphical User Interface. We made the layout WYSIWYG but we still allowed programming in event driven scripts but hidden from the interface. Our AskiaScript still has the traces of its ancestry with variables defined with Dim, For Next loops – I’ll admit that not everybody at Askia thinks it’s a good thing but that’s the price to pay for backwards compatibility.

Reusability & object-oriented programming by Askia

Reusability is the key to decrease development time and increase reliability. For programmers reusability is generally known as Object-Oriented Programming. In all of our software, we have tried to include reusable objects: Generations Settings and Internet options in askiadesign, Tab-templates and clones in Askiaanalyse, survey inheritance in askiasurf, libraries everywhere. Last but certainly not least we have created Askia Design Controls: we have enabled (advanced) users to generate the perfect HTML / JavaScript for each PC / tablet / mobile target whatever the browser, its version or its Operating System. ADCs encapsulate data, they are polymorphic (you can use them on different types of questions and browsers) and because they are open source, it’s up to you to give them inheritance.

There is another part of programming that we would like to bring to the Market Research industry: it’s testing – unit testing, integration testing, system testing. For the development of AskiaScript 2.0 we designed the tests before we wrote one line of code – this is called test-driven development (TDD). The number of bugs was minimal for a development of that size. Each time we found a fault, we added it to the list of tests to make sure it would never surface again in subsequent versions.

Test-driven development in survey design by Askia

Along with the spec of a survey, there should be a list of tests. These tests should be run by someone other than the survey scripter – and the tester should not peek into the routing coding. Different people will think differently ensuring your tests cover more defects.  We have put together a non-exhaustive list of tests:

  • Interview level: data presence for mandatory questions, skip routing testing, coherence between questions, testing links and response visibility.
  • Usability testing: testing each screen on every platform.
  • Aggregated testing: making sure quotas are respected, rotations are balanced, multiple questions have multiple responses.
  • System testing: ensuring the survey runs well on the server and that the data you produce is usable.

Long before considering a soft launch the simplest way to see if your survey runs correctly is to generate random data. You have two ways of doing so: either by using AskiaTools’ random data generator or using a JavaScript simulator (see here). The JS simulator is a great way to achieve systems testing.

System testing can also be achieved by exporting test interview data as .dat files and looking at the size of the individual dat files: you will be able to measure the load that will incur on memory. Multiply this by the number of concurrent interviews you expect and you will have an idea of the specs you need on your server(s). Additionally, looking at the size of a .QES file or preferably of the tables generated in SQL server will indicate how much Hard Drive space you will need.

Random Data Generation in askiatools

We have recently added a lot of features to the Tools random data generator: you can define routings that would only be run during random generation (for validating the screening for instance), you can specify the behaviour when blocking error messages are displayed and more importantly you can import your quota settings and take them into account in your generation (all available in 5.3.3). Quota code is often complex and going over could be an expensive mistake.

We have also created a brand new module in Tools 5.3.5 called “Verification scripts” (see here for more details). This allows a tester – remember not the survey scripter – to create checks in AskiaScripts that will be run on each interview. So you can verify that the question about credit cards has been asked if the interviewee has mentioned banks in another question. You simply write a check like this:

Assert.Check( Banks <> {} and CreditCards.HasNA,” Interviewee should have been asked the question about credit cards” )

The scripts can be as long as you like, we have added If Else conditions and Goto to help you create complex code that you will keep in one single text file. And you can write it within an environment – the askia visual studio – where you get help and documentation on any objects, methods or keywords. You can run this on your randomly generated data, on your soft launch or on your full data set – each time you get a detailed report of how many checks have failed. At the time of writing, this is not released yet but contact us if you want to try a beta.

In these scripts, we also want to have access to aggregated data… this will allow us to have one script that runs interview level testing and aggregated testing. We might want to test if an interview took less than 10% of the average length or if a given response to a question is outside a percentile. In other words, you might want to compare interview responses not with other interview responses but all other interview responses. The script grammar for this will be described in a forthcoming article – we are still passionately discussing it internally.

Usability testing in survey design by Askia

We have not covered usability testing here – not that we do not think it’s important: we are constantly talking about it internally. We are putting together a range of tools for designing ADCs (so far codenamed ADCUtil – yes we need something catchier), we have added ways of visualising your HTML in other browsers in Design. But we need to understand when a display no longer works because of screen size, the bias triggered by no longer using JavaScript, count the number of heads of Internet Explorer 5 users – and there again we need your input and your ideas so we can automate these tasks.

In the meantime, I leave you with these great quotes:

The act of maintaining software necessarily degrades it.” – Alain April

It’s harder to read code than write it.Joel Spolsky

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Peter Drucker

New Knowledge Base articles incoming!

We have been regularly updating Askia’s Help centre with various KB articles that cover our software offering. Here are some of these latest articles:

Askiadesign: about:blank error message

Microsoft recently updated Internet Explorer. This update may cause the below error message to be displayed in askiadesign:

about:blank error message in askiadesign

See the full article to fix this issue.

Askiafield: Data exports: Methods, Pros & Cons

This in-depth article covers all you need to know about the different data export methods along with the pros & cons for each method. From Supervisor’s Export to QES file to Analyse’s Data Inversion; this article also details SQL Synchronisation from AskiaTools as well as the powerful Fast Export method.

Read the full article for the detailed explanations.

 Askiaanalyse: Mean Summary Tables

This article goes through step by step examples and explanations of how to set up calculations in Analyse which will create a mean or sum summary table. There is also an introduction to script formatting and advanced sorting for such calculations.
This detailed article also provides downloadable example .QES files.

Access the KB article for more details.

Askiafield: Survey XML file is corrupt

Askiaface for iOS & Android make use of the XML version of the .QEX file; it sometimes occurs that certain characters (trailing spaces, &, >, <, …) will cause the survey’s XML definition to be invalid.

This article guides you through the necessary steps to fix a corrupt XML file: by identifying the cuplrit(s) and getting rid of them!

Check out the article for more details.

Askiafield: wildcards

This article describes how to use the Wildcard feature in Supervisor to find and update sample contacts based on regular expressions. Wildcards are a set of extremely useful tools that can power your workflow when searching / targeting specific contacts with large sample files.

Read the detailed article for more information.

Props to Seyf, Stephen & Jérome D for their contribution!