Tag Archives: survey

Turning a detailed document into a beautiful online survey

We know how it is. Someone has lovingly created a multi-page document, stuffed to the brim with tasty images, maps, tables, graphs and paragraphs of well-researched contextual information. The document looks great, it probably even smells great, and now you need to somehow translate that opus into an online consultation so you can ask your respondents questions about it – where to start?

It can be done, let’s scenario it out:

The easy way that’s not so ideal for respondents

I need people to answer questions on my document, so I’ve attached it as a PDF to the overview page of my consultation and the questions about it are in the online survey

OK, this is fine I guess as you’re consulting online (presumably as well as offering people the option to respond in other ways too *nudge nudge*) and you’re giving people all the information they need. However this method means that they have to keep toggling back and forth between your survey questions and the document itself, as well as having to dig around for the page of the document that’s relevant to the questions.

It may be worth asking: Is this the most accessible the survey could be? Do your respondents really need to read the whole document upfront to respond?

The next level up

I’ve attached the whole document as a PDF to the overview page of my consultation, but I’ve also broken the document down into chapters and embedded these as PDFs throughout my survey, with the corresponding questions beneath.”

Nice work! Not only is the document provided in full for those who wish to download it to have a good read, but it’s also been broken down into manageable sections right above the relevant questions. Nobody has their time wasted, barriers to entry are reduced and proper contextual information is given throughout the survey to gather quality answers to your questions. The final win is that your document looks exactly as it did when it lived in your ‘Documents’ folder.

How do I achieve this?

Use the PDF document embedder to add the sections of your document to the intro of each page in the survey, you can then build in corresponding questions below the information as you would normally.

Going the extra mile

“I’ve taken the information and content from my document and embedded it directly within the online survey instead of having standalone documents for respondents to scroll through.”

You’re on a roll! Maximising the publishing tools available can really turn your document into an easy-to-read online survey without the need for standalone documents to scroll through. This is very clear and makes it as easy as possible for your respondents to give you their views.

How to do it:

A picture highlighting the "Additional Information" answer component options in the online survey settings

Additional text and fact banks

These can be chosen as answer components and allow you to add contextual information, guidance, images, videos, tables, and PDFs within question sections and it helps you to layer answer components. If you ever think to yourself “it’d be great if I could add an image in to this question” or “I could really do with adding in more of an explanation here (within the question area)” then this is the component for you. If you’re planning to copy and paste from an existing Word document, then make sure to use the paste from Word button.

Fact banks are collapsible, which is what differentiates them from the additional text option. This offers your respondent a choice on viewing this extra information, e.g. if they are an expert in the policy area they may not need any more context, whereas others might.

Animated Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) demonstrating how a fact bank is collapsible

A whole world of rich content is now available so you can make your questions and pages as engaging and immersive as possible.

Image depicting the different forms of rich media and answer component that can be incorporated into a question to aid the respondent
Image taken from http://www.businessinteriors.co.uk


By using the tools above you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful online survey which does justice to all the hard work put in crafting the contextual information and the questions. Importantly, you’ve put time and effort into creating something interesting and easy to complete for your audience, which we hope will result in quality responses. For more detailed instructions on any of the above elements, have a gander at this useful support article on the topic.

That’s all for now folks, until next time!



Eric – secondee from the Civil Service Fast Stream

Citizen Space in 2012

We continually update and improve our Citizen Space consultation software, issuing (nearly) monthly releases. This year we’ve added a load of new features and enhancements that our current and future customers will benefit from.

Here’s a round-up of the really big and shiny new features we’ve implemented in 2012:

Private consultations
You can now make a consultation private so it does not show up on the public consultation hub or in search results. This is particularly beneficial if you want to run internal consultations, such as staff surveys. You can learn more by reading this article about private consultations.

Respondent mailing lists
Respondents may opt-in to a mailing list once they have completed a survey. This can be enabled on a per-consultation basis to ensure that it is only used on relevant consultations.

The text above the email opt-in option may be edited by the administrator to ensure that respondents will know how their email address will be used. Learn more by reading this article about keeping in touch with your respondents.

Citizen Space mailing list settingsThe mailing list can be used with email marketing packages such as MailChimp. It is also possible to view the number of email signups at any stage of the consultation on the dashboard without downloading the list.

Graphical PDF summary reports
A PDF summary report can be created from all online surveys to help you track the progress of an open consultation or to provide a summary report of the outcomes of a closed consultation. The report features charts which provide a graphical representation of the data.

For questions where respondents can select only one answer, such as radio buttons or a drop down, a pie chart is displayed:

Example of Automated Pie ChartsFor questions where respondents can select more than one answer, such as checkboxes, a bar chart is displayed:

Example of automated Bar charts

API (Application Programming Interface)
We developed an API to enable Citizen Space to allow third-party developers to bring citizen space content (consultations and search results) into their own websites. Please read more in this article about our Citizen Space API.

We’ve also made dozens of improvements to Citizen Space, including:

  • Overall improved user experience with visual and text enhancements
  • Editable static pages (Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use etc.)
  • A progress indicator on each page of our surveys
  • The ability to export filtered responses
  • Notification emails when a new consultation is set up
  • JSON support to API search results and the consultation aggregator, which benefits developers by offering an additional format when integrating results from Citizen Space into other websites or apps
  • …we could go on and on!

We’ve got super exciting features in the pipeline! Here is just a taster of some of the features in store for 2013:

Online survey answer mapping
Answer mapping allows respondents to give their views by placing markers in a grid on a map in order to indicate where they would like housing, shops, parks, etc. This could be used for a wide range of small or large scale planning consultations.

Camden pioneers new map question type

We are currently developing this feature with Camden Council and will pioneer this with a small number of further customers in early 2013 before making it available to all.

Publishing of consultation responses
For consultations, it’s appropriate to publish who responded and the responses received. Response publishing is being pioneered with the Scottish Government, who used it for the Scottish Referendum consultation. This will be an especially useful feature for a planning team.

Add dates to consultations for events / activities
We are currently working on a system that allows dates to be added to consultations for events or activities. For example, details of public meetings can be added to a consultation and citizens will be able to add these events to calendar apps on their computer or mobile device. This feature is being pioneered with Wyong Shire Council.

Gantt chart to show consultation timings
When scheduling consultations, it can be useful to see what other consultations are scheduled around the same time. To aid this we’ve developed a Gantt chart view of consultations, which is also being pioneered with Wyong Shire Council.

Gantt chart feature in Citizen Space

We’re looking for one further customer to pioneer this feature at the start of 2013, and then we aim to release this to all customers in the first part of 2013.

If you would like to be a part of our pioneering program, please email us at info@delib.net.

Usability improvements
We will continually improve the style and ease of use of Citizen Space.

You can learn more about the features of Citizen Space by taking the product tour, viewing client case studies and reading the latest release announcement.