“Simplicity is complexity well done” by DemoSCOPE

The following is a transcription of an article published by Stefan Klug, Head of Production at DemoSCOPE. It explains DemoSCOPE’s innovative approach to programming complex surveys, using Askia software. 


While many market research projects today are created using DIY Software, DemoSCOPE usually solves technically demanding survey tasks for its clients.
Traditional market research programming has always been, and still is to some extent, to transfer a paper questionnaire into a CAWI, CATI or CAPI application – question by question, sequence by sequence and language by language. We have had several times the opportunity to gain insight into such questionnaire programs and transfer them to our questionnaire software and modern programming technology.

What is the difference?

In a modern survey software, programming as outlined above is not necessary any longer. The aim is to avoid redundancies, as with the construction of databases or process optimization. Survey parts are not repeated, consistent parts are programmed and called only once in all methods and can therefore be programmed in the preparation time and data storage.
All the more attention is paid to user-oriented programming, whereby we do not only mean responsive web design for online surveys, but also for CATI interviewers we mean intuitive screen displays that are suitable for CAPI surveys and much more. In various surveys we were able to show the potential of these solutions. For example, the transition from CATI to CAWI as a data collection method is carried out seamlessly and without any need for insight into the underlying management software. There are no more opening browser windows, as it would be the case with a simple call of a website from a CATI survey.

For what types of surveys?

With this technique we can also carry out real mixed-mode surveys, for example, in which the same questionnaire can be interrupted at any point and either be resumed several times with the help of interviewers (CATI, CAPI) or as a self-completion interview by the interviewee (CAWI).We call this “mixed-mode multi-node” because it allows more than one node for the method- change. This enables, e.g., the interaction of different survey methods in complex, chronologically staggered survey sections. Of course, only one questionnaire script in all languages is required for the different survey channels. The choice of language or a change of language can be made at any time at all points of the interview and an interview can also be conducted in several languages.

For longitudinal data collection, this means, for example, that the repetition frequency of the survey becomes a questionnaire component. Arbitrary longitudinal section sequences can be stored and called up from the questionnaire without having to define the different sequences or the maximum number of repetitions in the program beforehand.
Survey contents can be structured modularly and the call of modules can be called up, for example, depending on survey results or randomized.
It is also possible to conduct such complex survey programmes, e. g. in a company, to interview several persons (or multiple persons in a household) on different or the same topics sequentially or at the same time, without ever losing track of the progress of the survey or the current status of processing.

Challenge us

The exemplary processes described above can be combined in any combination. Do you have ideas for implementing complex surveys?
Get in touch with us and challenge us. We have not yet been able to fully explore the limits of our software solutions (as well as capabilities and solution orientation) and are curious to see how far we can go or whether there is an end to the universe of feasibility.

Askia’s point of view: “Pure programming magic”

Jérome Sopoçko, founder of the Survey Software Company Askia states:

Jérome Sopoçko, ASKIA
Jérome Sopoçko, ASKIA

“I am always surprised how our survey system is used – after all it was designed to ask a few questions and calculate a couple of percentages. But what DemoSCOPE has done with some surveys is not far from pure programming magic. For example: the system call a household in CATI and spawns different web surveys for each person living there – exchanging information between processes through a SQL Server database, waiting for all data to be collected to restart. The system is designed so that you can follow the history of each household from call to call over the years. The final survey is elegant, efficient and stable. Askia Survey programming has been turned into dark art – and some of the best craftmasters work at DemoSCOPE.”

Stefan Klug is Head of production at DemoSCOPE and a member of the extended management board
DemoSCOPE news 2 / 2017

Translated to English and Reprinted with friendly permission of DemoSCOPE AG, Adligenswil, Switzerland.

Richard Collins becomes Askia’s first Chief Customer Officer

In this board-level role, Richard will manage and develop Askia’s international client base, as well as take overall responsibility for Askia UK office.

Richard Collins

Richard (pictured above) has built a unique track record in the Market Research industry playing key roles in leading companies. Most recently he was Chief Customer Officer for Big Sofa Technologies and before that he founded the first international office for Decipher Inc. in London (known as Decrypt and acquired by FocusVision). Prior to that, he has also held senior positions with Confirmit, Pulse Train and SPSS/IBM.

Patrick George-Lassale, Askia CEO, comments:  It’s the perfect fit at the perfect time! We are ready to take our global business development to the next level. Richard has inspiring skills and experience and we share the same values: we simply had to work together.”

Richard adds:  “It is an extremely exciting time to be joining Askia. We have some important announcements that we are preparing to share over the coming months that will see the company change significantly: both from an organisational and a technological point of view.”

Stay tuned for further details.

Askia User Survey 2017 results

The 2017 edition of our popular Askia User Survey was mailed out this past spring.

We received a record number of replies this year and once again, we were humbled by the tremendous amount of constructive feedback.

Whether it was an appreciative nod to one of our teams, a smart suggestion for improvement, or an insightful story about your personal Askia experience: all your responses are incredibly valuable to us and help us bring the best out of our software.

If you took part in the survey, we’d like to say again how thankful we are for your time. We told you in the introductory video that we would read all of the comments – and we did. There were a lot of them. You sometimes made us laugh. We also sometimes blushed with pride, other times with scorn.

Jérôme Sopoçko has personally replied to quite a few users already and whilst he’s still working on it, we thought now may be a good time to share the best bits of our analysis with you all, together with some cool infographics.

The highlights

When reading all your comments, we noticed four recurrent requests for which tools are either already in place, or will be very soon. So before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s take a look at these all-important questions and the answers we have for you:

Request #1: improved quota management

You wrote: 

I want to use dynamic quotas 

Please can you improve quota management (grouping, quota scripting)

Well we have good news for you: it’s already in place in version 5.4.4! And this is how to do it We also recommend that you read Jerome’s blog post which is full of valuable information on this topic. 

Request #2: managing panels with Askia

You wrote:

We need a solution to manage panels

Can you provide integration with a panel management platform

We have a solution and it’s called Platform One: Askia and Platform One have created together a platform for panel and community management. Platform one is fully preattuned to the Askia survey software so you are guaranteed seamless integration and seamless service.

Request #3: creating my own look & feel using custom codes

You wrote:

I find it next to impossible to get web screens to look how I want them to

I’d like a slider to navigate through the questionnaire

The one page design survey from typeform is highly visual and I’m unable to recreate this look/feel on Askia

Here again, we have a solution: the ADPs enable you to define exactly what code is generated, in the manner of a master page (php or asp). The ADPs are available in version 5.4.6.

Request #4: dashboarding

You wrote:

What I really need is data visualization tools and online dashboarding

The solution is our upcoming revolutionary dashboard developed in partnership with E-Tabs. Read the press release here and stay tuned for more details.

These are the topics that stood out from your comments. Now let’s look at the rest of the survey results. But before, I have to take my hat off to Seyf who put together the very comprehensive analysis that follows: thank you!

The details

What did you like?

We asked you what you like about our products and a number of themes emerged.

To begin with, you praise the fact that our software is powerful and offers endless possibilities, yet remains very easy to use: Right combination of complexity (i.e. high function) and usabilityThe general speed of all the products is often mentioned, as is the overall look and design of the products.

You also like that it’s all in one, and that it covers most of the Market Research needs across all data collection methodsThe range and integration of our products get your approval: you can use the same file format from survey design, to multiple collection methods, to data analysis.

Finally, you give top marks to the flexibility and versatility of the software including the extensibility of products such as Design and Vista.

Many of you rave about our Support team, even though technically they’re not a product; in particular, their knowledge of the software and their response speed get the thumbs up.

What do you like most about our products?

ProductLikeWordCloud2

Our personal favourite was:

“Very flexible and can do almost anything (even making coffee if you have a coffee machine connected to the internet)“

> Dear Askia user, we’re keen to see pictures of your favourite software making a cuppa!

What did you not like?

No software is perfect, and so we welcome your constructive feedback about the things you do not like.

Mostly, you find that some elements are not 100% intuitive, making some tasks unnecessarily complicated or time-consuming.

You would like to see more documentation, including guides for beginners – and our French users ask for documentation in their mother-tongue.

Occasional errors and the odd bugs were also mentioned, and the fact that sometimes just fixing the issue isn’t enough:

When we ask for help, we often find the issue corrected for us – we’d really like to understand why something has gone wrong

“Generally the fact that when you ask for help, you often find the issue promptly corrected for you, whereas you would like to know how to correct yourself.”

All points duly noted by our team, and we hope that you’ll soon notice significant improvement on them all!

… and what do you dislike most about our products?

ProductDislikeWordCloud2

What should we work on?

What percentage of our askia design development time should we spend on these possible features?

DevTimeDesign2

There were still a large number of respondents who, without prompting, mentioned an improvement on screens is required. It is too difficult to achieve their requirements. There is a huge appetite for a screen editor that would be more WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

You’d also like us to work on:

  •         Short captions for responses or an easy way of clearing html from question elements
  •         More automation for building surveys
  •         Other specify in loops / grid tables

What percentage of our askia voice development time should we spend on these possible features?

DevTimeVoice2

Unprompted requests for SMS surveys saw a number of mentions as did speech to text technology, agent and interview evaluations and more variety/flexibility in the reports offered. Finally, clients consistently wanted dev time to be invested in maximising stability, including better diagnostics, tools and measures to prevent the causes of downtime.

What percentage of our askia analyse development time should we spend on these possible features?

DevTimeAnalyse2

Apart from the above areas, you would very much like to see the speed and stability for large volume or complicated data sets improve in both askiaanalyse and askiavista.

Intellisence in all analyse script windows*, more find options* and askiavista 6 admin mode all saw mentions as well as more progress bars in both apps when running lengthy tasks.

Already implemented in Analyse 5.4.6.0

What percentage of our askia web development time should we spend on these possible features?

DevTimeWeb2

You would like to see easier jumping in their surveys to aid testing. A parallax or single page view of any survey would be welcomed as would the ability to upload and reuse media in a web survey. Online focus groups/panels and the usual request of reopening links which are screened or quota failed saw mentions.

What percentage of our askia face development time should we spend on these possible features?

DevTimeFace2

The most consistent theme was reducing the number of crashes in the app.

Askia face users also mentioned the following features they would like to see development time spent on:

  •         Message notifications to interviewer devices or in app/survey from supervisors / agents
  •         Remote control or automatic options such as force survey update or auto sync interviews when connected to web
  •         Audio / screen recording of interviews
  •         Easier handling of multiple visit / session interviews

What else would you like to see?

Askia Users also asked for: web reporting for all supervisor functionality and perhaps dashboarding capabilities for this, connection to panel management systems and media (video / picture / audio file) coding.

Rating the software

  •         82% were either very satisfied or satisfied (up 6% on last wave)
  •         15% were neutral (down 5% on last year)
  •         2% were dissatisfied and less than half a % was ‘Very dissatisfied’

SoftwareOverallSat2

Rating the support

In terms of overall satisfaction:

SupportOverallSat2

  •         80% were either very satisfied or satisfied (up 9% on last wave)
  •         8% were neutral (down 17% on last wave)
  •         3% were dissatisfied and less than half a % was ‘Very dissatisfied’

Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction with certain attributes of the support team:

SupportAttributeSat2

When it comes to improving Support, you’d like us to be better at explaining the solutions so that you can learn from it. Showing how you figured out the answer and what were the underlying causes. Points that were mentioned a few times:

  •         Support should test their solutions before they send or ask the client to try them
  •         They should listen and try to understand the issue before responding
  •         If it’s a fault of the software, explain what measures will be put in place to stop the same problem happening again
  •         More out of hours support
  •         Easier to navigate documentation, blogs, articles and of course as much of them in French as in English!

ImproveWordCloud

How does support compare?

When askia users were asked to compare askia support to other technical support service providers, we rated higher in 2015 and higher still in 2017!

SupportQualityCompare2

Your feedback is very important to us, so please do not hesitate to send your comments, questions or why not, suggestions for next year’s survey!

You can take a closer look at the results in Vista by clicking here.

One last word…

If you’ve read our entire analysis: wow, we’re impressed! But perhaps you’ve just picked the information you needed then skipped directly to the conclusion. Either way, we cannot say it enough: we are extremely grateful for the time you spent on our behalf, first sharing your thoughts and comments in the User Survey, then reading our answers and analysis in this post.

It’s you, the Askia Users, who keep us growing and improving day by day and you’re the reason we get up in the morning (together with software, our loved ones, and a few other things).

Please continue to be an active part of the Askia community and we guarantee we will make it worth your time!

New from the vault

If like us, you’ve been busy spending your time working (building surveys, helping clients, upgrading software, reading logs, …), you may not have had a chance to keep up with the latest tips & tricks from our Help Centre. Feel free to have a flick through our latest picks:

Design & Analyse FAQs

Your first steps with Askia’s range of software are now even smoother! The askiadesign & askiaanalyse FAQs will help cover your needs when start building your first questionnaire or analysing your first survey results.

Askia analyse FAQ screenshot

Access the Design FAQ and/or the Analyse FAQ to take a look!

How to import / export Askiavista projects

Upgrading your Askiavista server environment? Using a staging server before deploying your Askiavista projects to your live environment? Look no further, this article walks us through the simple steps of using AskiaVista Tool to import and/or export Askiavista projects from one server to another.

AskiaVista Tool screenshot

This nifty application allows AskiaVista administrators to manage the import / export of Vista project related components: Portfolios, Filters, Weightings, Profiles, Calculated variables, Chart templates, Table styles, …

Check out the full article for more details.

Web survey link encryption

As from version 5.3.5, we’ve had the ability to send survey links with URL encryption / prettyfying. Up until now, encryption could only be achieved manually and was only reserved for StartSurvey link type. We have therefore created a script which allows you to encrypt survey links by batch, based on a CSV file. With this script, you can encrypt many URLs at once.

Therefore, a standard DoExternalPanel link with some extra parameters looks like:

http://mydomain.com/WebProd/cgi-bin/askiaext.dll?Action=DoExternalPanel&SurveyName=fullurl&Broker=askia&BrokerPanelId=4&tT=ad

And the encrypted version would return a URL like:

http://mydomain.com/WebProd/~jgAqch8-_cm6F4j1VIJMvSW8l_cYjUaX

Vista API tutorial

This article is a followup to the first API tutorial, it showcases a series of bite-sized examples to highlight important features of the Vista API.

askiavista API tutorial illustration

This extensive tutorial covers all the basics for Vista API development through 11 examples that feature such concepts as: displaying a cross-tab via the getPages method, securing your dashboard with a login page, grouping multiple requests to improve load management and client-side performance, retrieving a list of questions and/or responses via the askiavista.getQuestions and the askiavista.getResponses methods, adding a dropdown menu to your dashboards, … and many more!

Using Amazon S3 for resource uploads for Askiaface on iOS/Android

Using an external service to automatically upload your survey’s media captured on your iOS and/or Android devices is a very convenient way to centralise all such assets and a great method of securing all such resources.

This article covers all the steps from setting up your Amazon S3 account, checking all S3 settings and prepping your survey’s media capture questions in order to automate the upload of all media content.

Read the article for the full picture!

Askia is changing: new digital identity

As initiated a couple of months ago in our “Askia’s mission, vision & values” blog post in which we mention the elements we have been processing over the past year (Askia’s 20th birthday!): our team has gathered to help (re)define our core statements.

In order to help us and you our clients, partners, friends, … better feel the revival of our aspiration as a business, Askia’s visual identity has undergone the same process over the past year.

We examined, reexamined, broke, rebuilt and finally achieved in evolving our brand identity without ever losing sight of our roots. From our logo to our brand colour palette, from our application icons to our print material, … we have completely redesigned our visual language in order to better mirror who we are now and where we are heading.

We have therefore began to rollout this new identity throughout our digital presence: website, blog, help centredocumentation.

Our new website

Askia website screenshot

Our new help centre

Askia help centre screenshot

Open Ends

Askia's Open Ends blog screenshot

Documentation

Askia user documentation screenshot

Conclusion

As you can see, we have already achieved quite a lot this year! But there is still more! We’ve already completely overhauled our mobile face-to-face Android app, our dev centre will be updated in the coming weeks, … Keep an eye on us, much more will be coming out in the next months!

Askiavista 6.0.3.6 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!