Survey

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Overview

Survey
Surveys gather important information in many different fields.

In Sense/Net a Survey is a Content Type representing a standard survey. With this you can easily create a survey with as many and various questions as you want. You can set up many types for the questions (e.g.: choice options, text inputs and so on) that the portal supports.

This feature is depreciated, and obsolete from version 6.5 there is a new way to create Survey lists. Visit our demo at Demo Features or see the article How to create a Survey

Details

A Survey offers a simple way to collect information from the users about any topic. You can ask their opinions about specific things in different ways. The portal allows you to set different types of questions for a Survey. These types are the basic field types that the portal supports. For more information about these types check out the Configuration part below.

How to create a Survey

If you want to create a new survey in the portal, you have to create a new instance of Survey Content Type. In the Add new Survey dialog you can set up the properties of the survey. There are some special fields which is described here in detail:

  • Valid From: the survey can be filled by users starting from this date
  • Valid Till: the survey will be no longer available after this date
  • Enable Lifespan: the system will only check the validation fields above if this field is set to true
  • Enable notification e-mail: set to true to send notification emails to the specified users and/or user groups when a survey gets filled
  • Sender Address: this email address will appear in the sender field of the notification email
  • Evaluators: list of users and/or user groups who will receive notification emails and they can also rate the surveys after completing
  • Enable more filling: this allows users to fill out a survey multiple times

Configuration

When you edit the properties of a survey in the portal, there are some extra fields in the Advanced fields section which are set up by default:

  • LandingPage: a Web Content Demo page displayed to the user after completing a Survey
  • PageContentView: the default browse View of the Web Content Demo pages (LandingPage, InvalidSurveyPage, Notification e-mail template)
  • InvalidSurveyPage: a Web Content Demo page used for the cases when the Survey is in an invalid state (e.g.: Enable Lifespan field set to True and the current date and time is not between the given intervals)
  • Notification e-mail template: the template file of the notification email

The notification e-mail template

This template is used in the notification emails. It has two important properties:

  • Subtitle: the subject of the email
  • Body: The body of the email. Its content can be easly formatted using the WYSIWYG editor of the portal. You can insert special keywords into the text that the portal will replace with data related to the current survey. These keywords are the following:
    • {Addressee}: the name of the Evaluator
    • {User}: the name of the individual
    • {SurveyName}: the Display Name of the survey
    • {Browse}: a link for viewing the survey
    • {Evaluate}: a link for evaluating the survey
    • {Creator}: the name of the creator of survey

If you want send notification emails, you may need to set authentication information such as user name, password and domain name for the SMTP server in the Web.config file. Read more about How to configure SMTP settings.

Example

<p>Dear {Addressee}!</p>
<p><em>{User}</em> has filled out the <strong>{SurveyName}</strong> survey. You can check it by clicking on this link: {Browse}. If you would like to write an evaluation text then click here: {Evaluate}.</p>
<p>Best wishes,</p>
<p>{Creator}</p>

Editing templates

As it was mentioned before the Survey has some default template files. These files are the LandingPage, the InvalidSurveyPage and the Notification e-mail template page. These can be customized easily for your needs by clicking on the Edit templates action in the Settings menu on your Survey in Explore mode. On this page you can edit these template files using the portal's WYSIWYG editor. When you finished editing one of these template files, the portal will then copy it from its original place under your current survey. A Configuration folder will be created under the given survey and your customized template will be placed here. In other words, if you customize a Survey template file then it will be unique for that survey.
You can, of course, create your own pages using different page templates but don't forget to reference your custom page on the Survey.

How to add questions to a Survey

If you want to add questions to a Survey choose the Manage questions action from the Settings scenario in Explore mode. It will navigate you to the question editor view. To add a new question you need to click on the Add button then a drop down list will appear listing the avalaible question types in the system. These types are the following:

  • Hyperlink
  • DateTime
  • Choice
  • Page break
  • Reference
  • Yes/No
  • Longtext
  • Shorttext
  • Number
  • Currency
  • Integer
Adding a question on a Survey


These types are types of the portal's field controls. Practically when you are adding a new question to a Survey you are actually adding a field to it. You can find more information about these controls under the Field Controls wiki page.

Managing questions

After you successfully added a question to your survey then it will appear in the Survey Questions Editor portlet. There are several command buttons for editing or deleting questions or reorganizing the sequence of them.

The real power of Survey in Sense/Net is in being able to create jumping rules between pages. Rules are defined in Page breaks. Page breaks are used to split coherent questions into pages. A Rule consist of a selected question and the page numbers which will be the next pages for the given answers. In this manner only questions of type of ChoiceField (using RadioButtons) can be used at the moment to define a rule.

If there is, at least, one filled instance of a given survey then its questions are no longer editable.

If you create a survey which consists of more than one page, you should not use the Compulsory property of any questions.

How to fill out a Survey

To fill out a Survey you have two options. The easiest way is navigating to the survey's location in browse mode and clicking on the Fill out action. The other way is to present the Survey in a Content viewer Portlet. In a portlet like that a survey can be placed anywhere on a page.
Additionally, you can use a Content Collection portlet as well to list all the Surveys under a specified context.

Surveys will only be saved when the user clicks on the Finish button at the end so you should warn him/her about it on the Landing Page.

How to evaluate a survey

When somebody fills out a survey, the Evaluators recevie a notification e-mail with a link to the evaluation page. Alternatively, you can start evaluation from the action menu of the desired SurveyItem. In both ways it's supposed that you have the appropriate permissions for evaluation. On the evaluation page you can see the answers given by the individual and below that there is a box where you can write your evaluation text. After you clicked on the Done Editing button, the evaluation text will be saved.

Example/Tutorials

Tutorial: Applying for a job position

Let's assume that you have an IT company and you're looking for new employees for a bigger project. You have a website powered by Sense/Net but you never created any Survey with it. This tutorial will help you to create a survey for people who applies to your job offer. At first our job is to figure out what questions we want to ask from the candidates.

Survey question planning

On the first page of the survey we gather some personal information:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Work experience
  • Are you a student?

Since the candidate can be a student we would like to know which school is he or she attending to:

  • Name of school
  • Major
  • Expected graduation date

He or she might be graduated and have already had some work experience, right? These questions could be on the next page:

  • Have you worked in a team?
  • Have you ever led a team?
  • Programming skills

Working well in a team is a great strength especially when you're the leader of them. If the candidate was a leader, then:

  • How big was the team you led?

Finally, let's talk about money:

  • Expected gross salary

As you can see we defined five pages with different questions. These pages will be separated with Page breaks and we will specify rules to jump between these pages. For example if the candidate is a student then he or she will be asked about his or her education but not about work experience and those candidates who worked in a team will be asked about the size of their team as well in a separate page. Finally, all the candidates need to specify their expectations about salary. The following flowchart represents the survey:

Survey flowchart

Creating an empty survey

  1. Using the Explorer create an instance of Survey Content Type anywhere in your site and configure the general properties as it was describe in the Configuration section above.
  2. In Explore mode click on the Manage questions action from the Settings scenario
Empty survey

Defining the questions

In the flowchart all the questions and page breaks are numbered by how the questions should follow each other. Every page with several questions is followed by a Page break except the last one.

In the following table you can see how the types of questions were defined:

Defined questions and their types
Question Field type Available values Options
Your name ShortText
Date of birth DateTime DateTime mode: Date
Work experience Choice less than 2 years
2-5 years
more than 5 years
Display choices: RadioButtons
Are you a student? YesNo Yes
No
PageBreak1 PageBreak Rule:
Question: Are you a student?
Yes: 1
No: 2
Name of school ShortText
Major ShortText
Expected graduation date DateTime DateTime mode: Date
PageBreak2 PageBreak Rule:
Question: Are you a student?
Yes: 4
No: 4
Have you worked in a team? YesNo Yes
No
Have you ever led a team? YesNo Yes
No
Programming skills LongText
PageBreak3 PageBreak Rule:
Question: Have you ever led a team?
Yes: 3
No: 4
How big was the team you led? YesNo Yes
No
PageBreak4 PageBreak Rule:
Expected gross salary ShortText

You can create these questions by clicking on the Add field action and selecting the proper Field type.

Explanation of rules

  • Page1 rule - if the candidate is a student he or she will be redirected to Page #1 otherwise to Page #2
  • Page2 rule - we're dealing with a student so we don't want to ask questions about work experiences therefore he or she will be taken to Page #4
  • Page3 rule - if the candidate has already have experience in team work then we'd like to know more about it in Page #3 otherwise there's one more question left in Page #4
  • Page4 rule - since there's only one more page left we can leave this empty


Page numbers are zero based. In other words, the first page is followed by the first page break, the second page is followed by the second page break and so on

Summary

That's all folks. Easy as pie, isn't it?

The flowchart has been created for a reason. It helps you build your survey. In a flowchart you can see how the user will be navigated between pages and with it setting up a survey is a lot easier. So it's recommended to create your own flowchart even using a pencil before you start any work in the portal.

Related links

References