Askia User Survey 2015 results

What did you like?

Most of you like the easy to use & learn our applications. In the same idea, you think our application are intuitive and user-friendly.

You also mentioned our scripting engine (Askiascript 2.0), the flexibility and the fact our platform is open to extend the software as well as the quality of the support.

Our personal favorite was “The close working relationship and the willingness to listen to our concerns”.

What did you not like?

You would like us to simplify the management/modification of web screens to require less HTML/CSS/JavaScript knowledge and deliver enhanced report/monitoring tools.

You also seem to be keen on improving the speed and time to process especially for large data sets and simplify the interface, having it web based and allowing multi user access to our suite of apps.

Finally, you would like more communication/information on development/changes and some of you also mentioned to have the documentation translated in French.

Our personal favorite was “The sometimes geeky choices for user interface and element naming, … “.

What should we work on?

We asked you to put yourself in our shoes and help prioritise our development plans, this is what you said.

Askiadesign – most of you would like new questions types and additional routing/scripting keywords.


You’d also like us to work on a better templating system, to be able to define short captions for responses, to apply routing actions to several questions and to have the possibility to create functions in askiascript. Some of you also mentioned to simplify the creation of semi open responses.

Askiavoice: The recordings management and CATI /AskiaClient interface appear to be the area where you would like us to put the focus.


Some others good ideas / functionalities came as spell check, CTA as service and improvement of the quota definition.

Askiaweb: Most people would focus on improving the spam, soft bounce detection followed by a “print my answers” feature.


You were keen for us also to improve mixed-mode data collection.

Askiaface: when it comes to face to face data collection, your priorities are: give the possibility to continue the survey online and the contacts list management.


In terms of other ideas, we received a lot of good ideas including:  improve the storage of multimedia files taken during the survey, improve the management of quotas and be able to hide the sidebar.

Askiaanalysis: Improve the speed of processing is the area on top of your choice followed by the table layout facilities.


In addition, people would like to see:

  • Full compatibility between analyse and vista portfolios, calculated variables, …
  • New calculated variable – Multiple by script (one script)
  • More scripting
  • Search function for portfolios

What else would you like to see?

People also asked for: better communication / information on modifications/changes, better/more documentation, user guide, knowledge base articles and some of you for a French version of our documentation.


In terms of overall satisfaction:

  • 28% were very satisfied by the support.
  • 71% were either very satisfied or satisfied.
  • 26% were neutral.
  • 3% were dissatisfied and none were “Very dissatisfied”.

When it comes to improving Support, you’d like us to be better at explaining the solutions so that you can learn from it and improve the speed to reply or produce a solution.


Our latest update to askiavista, our online data analysis and reporting web app, is finally here! Version is an incremental update that contains many fixes and some useful new features:


Askiavista can now make use of askiadesign‘s useful Scenarios (aka Versions) in order to filter the list of questions and/or responses. This allows you to customise the display of your survey variables and responses based on the sets of Scenarios defined in askiadesign.

In the case of an omnibus survey, you could for example create a Scenario for Client A that comprises the demographic variables as well as the client’s specific questions; create a second Scenario for Client B with the same demographic data as well as this client’s variables, etc… Thus, allowing each end-user to only view the appropriate subset of data.

Scenarios are functionally very similar to Packages (a feature that has been available in askiavista for many years now)… but the two main advantages of Scenarios are:

  • They do not require to be re-defined; once they have been initially set in askiadesign, askiavista will pick up the Scenarios automatically
  • Where Packages were limited to filtering questions, Scenarios can filter both questions and response items

Specify questions when exporting a portfolio

Askiavista’s API has been updated in order to allow users to override certain (or all) cross-tab dimensions with the profileRows, profileColumns and profileEdges properties that have been added to the askiaVista.display method.

So, if your cross-tab query uses a Portfolio item, these above properties will override the entire list of questions for the specified dimension.

Core components updated

Some of askiavista’s core components have been updated:

  • AVS now supports the RowQuestion, ColQuestion,RowSubQuestion and ColSubQuestion keywords.
  • Fixed an issue with commented askiascript
  • Fixed an issue with Row / Edge suppression
  • Fixed an issue where the Use unweighted base in Col Sig with selected no weighting caused results to disappear
  • Various fixes to ensure Mode and Average number of responses are displayed correctly

Bug fixes

As usual, we have slaughtered some pesky bugs while we were at it; some of the more notable ones are:

  • Fixed an issue where no data was displayed for the total by Row and total by Question for Arithmetic calculations by script
  • Fixed an issue where totals were missing in Portfolios when exported to Excel
  • Fixed an issue where the Export Activity to Excel produced a corrupt Excel file

You can access the full version notes or pick up the update immediately!

New version of askiaanalyse

This post is the second in a series that detail the key features in version of askiadesign & askiaanalyse. The blog post on askiadesign can be found here.

Much development work has been invested in to take our Analysis software to the next level. A detailed list of these great new features can be found in the version roadmap. Below are a summary and examples of several key developments:

Table of contents:

    1. Table arithmetic (Cleaning script)
    2. Aggregated scripts
    3. Table arithmetic (Calculation arithmetic)
    4. Table suppression
    5. Paste captions
    6. New keywords in script calculations
    7. New options in level

For items 1 to 3 there is a range of articles on our help centre which go into a greater amount of detail than we will in this post. The objects, properties and methods for the new scripting language are summarised in this document.


Table arithmetic (Cleaning script)

The ‘Cleaning script’ is a process that runs immediately after your table is created. It changes the appearance of a table based on the figures it has in it. So, for example, you can have sophisticated conditional formatting or fill text and numbers into cells of your choice using syntax. Here I will demonstrate how to change the default column significance lettering to display a shape of a particular colour.

In the table below we are testing each column against the total column only – we can see if it is significantly different by the letters returned from some of the pre-set options: higher (“A+”) or lower (“-A+”).


What if the requirement is to show something other than these pre-set options e.g. a green ▲ for higher and a red ▼ for lower

The ‘Cleaning script’ window is found in the Tab definition > General tab > Settings > Sorting. We can achieve this requirement by adding the script below. It’s basically script that defines the data range first (StartX, StartY) (2, 5) to (MaxX, MaxY) (10, 18).Then it carries out a find and replace to insert the shapes and formats where required.


The portfolio and .qes file containing the tab template shown above can be downloaded here. The end result is as follows:



 Aggregated scripts

In basic terms, aggregated scripts are a way of retrieving aggregated information e.g. a mean or median. So you can now create coded variables from this point like: those above mean / those below mean and this variable won’t require additional work when new data is added to the .qes file (and the mean changes).

The example .qes file can be downloaded here. Take a look at variable avg#3. We are able to display the average time in the correct format by first working out the mean of Q4a. We use (17.73) to do this. In the second line we work out the mean with no decimal places (17). In the third line we work out the difference 0.73 and re-factor it be between 0 – 60 (44). Then, finally, we insert these numbers into the text we want to display: “Average Time – [17:44]”


The above example shows aggregated scripts for use in created variables but they can also be used in the cleaning script and calculation arithmetic script modes. The latter is demonstrated in the example portfolio in tab definition: Average Time – Method 1. Here there is the calculation: Average Time which performs a similar format adjustment on our mean for Q4a.

Table arithmetic (Calculation arithmetic)

In the example .qes file and portfolio which can be downloaded here, open the tab definition: 2.TA_Calc_Arithmetic. 

Here you will see a 10 point rating scale for 10 brands. The aim is to create a simple calculation:

100 * sum of (count x rating) for one brand / sum of (count x rating) for all brands

So for the first brand it would be: 100 * (182) / total of all entries in the ‘Sum’ row (1498) = 12.15


When using calculation arithmetic we think of every cell in the table as having x & y co-ordinates e.g. the top left cell has co-ordinates (1,1)

We define our range of cells we want to sum across:

j = CurrentTable.startX to CurrentTable.maxX

Where startX is the first column which contains data (3) and maxX is the last column (12) now we sum up all the values contained in these cells on the 12th row (Sum) using the following syntax:

i = i + CurrentTable.getcell(j,12).value

 Note, here you can replace the y co-ordinate of 12 with:  CurrentTable.maxY – 1  – this also means the 12th row but will automatically look at the 13th row if one more rating is added to the scale.

Now that we have our ‘total of sums’ we divide the sum calculation, Calc(1), by this to get our desired result using: return (Calc(1) / i) * 100

You may have noticed that we now use Calc(1) instead of the calculation reference we used previously {1}. This is necessary for adding the new scripting language in this calculation type. References previously saved as {n} here will be automatically updated to Calc( n ).

Table suppression

For the first time in Analyse, we have the ability to fully suppress tables from the output if the table base is below a certain number. You have the flexibility to set this threshold in the same way as you can for setting row / column / edge suppression:


The usual requirement is blank table suppression which removes empty tables from outputs. In this case you would of course set ‘if base <=’ to 0

Paste captions

A new option, Paste captions, has been added to the context menu when you are working in the row / columns / edges of your tab definitions. If you’ve ever had to make a large number of text changes to variables or code captions in the tab definition, you’ll know it would have taken time to paste/write them in to each of these elements individually.

Now you can create your updated text in Word or Excel, for example, and paste captions in wholesale on to your variables or codes to save a lot of time when faced with this sort of exercise.


New keywords in script calculations.

You can now use RowQuestion, RowSubQuestion, ColQuestion, ColSubQuestion in calculations by script

You may be aware how to use script calculations in Analyse:


If not, there is a fairly informative article here which steps through some usage examples. There is another article here which concentrates on scripts used to create mean summary tables.

Basically, it’s a script stored in a calculation which allows you to access or filter your results by a question which is not in your tab definition.

The example files are here. Open up ‘6.AS_Keywords_Portfolio.xml’ and in the tab definition there is a demonstration of this in the calculation: ‘n (q4)’. The script here is  ??q4?? Has {1;2}

This filters the counts in our table by those who answered ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very good’ at q4.

This is a question specific script. It means that should we be required to apply this for the same table set-up but different questions then the calculation would not work. e.g. loop1 (replaced with loop2) and q4 (replaced with q5). In Analyse we have introduced some new keywords to circumvent this inflexibility.

Take a look at the calculation ‘n (Generic)’. The script here is: RowSubQuestion Has {1;2}


The results here are the same as those given by ‘n (q4)’ but, of course, now allow flexibility to use this tab template definition across different loops / variables.

New options in level

There are two new options added to the ‘Level’ drop-down box in the tab template:


The aim here is much the same as in the previous section, to reduce the number of tab templates we need to create.

An example is when you create a summary table (let’s say for loop1) and want to show figures for the response level rather than the respondent level. We set the level here to loop1 and save the tab template. Previously we couldn’t use the same tab template for the summary table for, let’s say, loop2 but now we can using these options.

The new keywords in script calculations and these level options add a great new level of efficiency for tab template management.

Askiavista released!

We’ve released an update to askiavista, our data analysis & reporting web application. This update is packed with new features (and we also hunted down some pesky bugs):

Manage concurrent user sessions

We’ve added the possibility for askiavista administrators to enable / disable concurrent user sessions for askiavista 6.x. This setting can be global or per user group in order to better adapt to your needs.

Askiavista 6 activity reports

To prepare for Askiavista’s brand new Administration module, we have began implementing user activity (for version 6) reports in the askiavista database. We log a vast array of activity-related data: activity IDs, user IDs, query IDs, session IDs, actions, requests, errors, IP addresses, timings, server responses, … and many many more!

All this information can be found in askiavista’s Administration module, under Configuration > Management Report.

Improved 3-way suppression

We have improved the ‘3-way suppression’ property (as well as ‘Treat edges individually’) as they will now be activated by default when the user selects suppression for rows, columns and edges. Less clutter +increased efficiency = win!

Hide variable distribution

The variable Distribution panel (that sits below your survey structure) could already be collapsed or expanded… it can now be hidden by default! You can activate this optional setting in your User Preferences.

Updated AskiaVistaServer

This update of our calculation engine includes many little fixes and improvements, such as:

  • Use Unweighted base for Significance and Test Value
  • Fixes flat counts where the question was not displayed on a tab of its own
  • Fixed Z-test on unweighted bases when using a Filter
  • … and more!

Squashed bugs

  • Inverted ‘Show a column order letter’ option
  • V5 filter definition not displaying in V6
  • Fix the batch user import feature
  • On-the-fly Filters not taken into account when exporting the portfolio to Excel

You can read the changelog for more details or check this update on our demo server now!

Askiavista updated to

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

New default expiry page

We have updated the default expired page for Portfolio Links which have been set with the Expiry date option. This new page is fully responsive and can be customised to better correspond to your needs.

Screenshot of askiavista's new expiry page

This page is stored in at the root of the AskiaVistaReader.Net4 folder, so don’t hesitate to go crazy on your custom expiry pages!

You can read more about this new page if you want!

Updated log in page

We have updated askiavista’s log in page in order to get rid of some layout issues we had on the previous version and to improve the page’s responsiveness.

Screenshot of Askiavista's new login page

We also cleaned it up a tad, increased the size of the inputs & button and generally made a clearer version of the page; but, do remember that you can create your own custom login page!

Highcharts, improved & extended!

We have greatly improved our integration of Highcharts charting library by adding some extra components such as:

  • highcharts-more.js (allows new chart types, such as: Area range, Area spline range, …)
  • modules/funnel.js (adds support for Funnel charts)
  • modules/exporting.js (allows to activate chart export to print, JPG, PNG, SVG & PDF)
  • modules/solid-gauge.js (adds support for solid gauge charts)

We were therefore able to add several new charts to askiavista: Bubble, Spline, Area spline, Scatter & Waterfall charts:
Screenshot of Askiavista's new chart types

Improved search capabilities

We’ve drastically improved the Search questionnaire functionality that is located in the treeview:

  1. We have increased the maximum amount of search results from 30 results to… 500!
  2. When you have searched for a specific question or set of questions and select a search result, you no longer lose your selection(s) when you deactivate the search functionality.

Locate questions in the treeview structure

We have added an askianalyse-inspired feature: having the possibility to Locate a question in the treeview by selecting it directly from the Dimensions panel (Rows, Columns or Edges) in which you are using it.

Screenshot of Askiavista's locate feature

This feature is particularly useful when trying to locate a specific variable in the survey structure when said questionnaire is very large.

Fixed an issue with Portfolios and Filters imported from Analyse

We fixed an issue that some of our users experienced when running a Portfolio with a Filter imported from Analyse, the filter would appear twice in the Filter select menu. The portfolio would target the second filter and wouldn’t show any data in the table. All fixed now!

Fixed issue with table style & chart type refresh

Finally, we fixed two issues that concerned rendering issues with table styles and charts when these were refreshed:

  1. Table style refresh issue: when you added a new Table style, askiavista would not take the new CSS into account; the user had to manually trigger the table style refresh by drag and dropping one or more variables in Dimensions.
  2. Chart type refresh issue: when the application rendered more than one chart on a given Table definition and the user modified the Chart type, only the first rendered chart would adopt the newly selected chart type.

That’s all for version! Next update is just around the corner!

Askiavista is really growing!

Update: we have updated askiavista to version, read more about it!

Yup, askiavista is nearly a grown-up! But because it’s an Askia application, it’ll always be a bit childish 😉 .

We are unleashing the latest update to askiavista, version; this latest release is packed with several nifty features and some squashed bugs:

Single Sign-On

We introduced SSO compatibility a couple of years ago but this useful feature has finally made it through to version 6! For this, we have introduced a new web service, AskiaVistaSSO, that is in charge of:

  • creating a unique & secure TrustKey
  • sending the TrustKey to AskiaVista Manager
  • authorises the user to connect or not to askiavista

Check the full details on this.

Replay multiple queries simultaneously

AskiaVista API’s Replay Plugin allows developers to replay a given query with few changes; it’s specially useful for cross-tab queries that produce tables or charts.

Let’s imagine you have a dropdown with the list of filters (sub-populations) from which the user can choose a given filter that will replay a table by applying it the selected filter.

The new version of the Replay plugin allows the developers/users to replay several tables or charts in one go.

So, when the user selects a filter it could be applied to multiple tables or charts at the same time.

In the background the Replay plugin uses a transaction to execute all queries in a single server-side call. The main benefit is to reduce the amount of bandwidth & queries between the client and the server.

Askia.config path now in the Registry

Up until now, the Askia.config file path was stored in IIS’  web.config file (a bit of an inception, eh?). Because any update could overwrite the web.config file, we often ended up with errors related to the configuration file not being found.

To improve this, askiavista searches the Askia.config path in the following order:

  1. In the directory of the current application
  2. If not found, it searches for the web.config as usually
  3. If not found, it search in the Registry

Read the feature request for more information.

Bug fixes

Finally, we have also fixed some outstanding issues in askiavista, check below for the most important ones:

  • Empty table when deactivating all calculations for tables (#6349)
  • Calculated responses not copied when copy/paste presentation (#6362)
  • Hidden responses displayed in xtab when moving variables around R/C/E (#6388)
  • Drag Drop filter is not applied to Excel export from a Portfolio (#6413)
  • Scaled-response questions are not treated as closed (#6421)
  • Cannot remove ‘Mean’ calculation caption from table and chart (#6455)
  • Total column and Edge inverted in the Property panel (#6476)
  • AskiaVistaManager can crash several times starting (#6483)

Oh, and did I mention that we have started to play with the amazing D3.js data visualisation library? It’s still just a playground but check this out! Thanks to Brice for his great work on that!

That’s all for now folks 😀