Our first detailed review is for Survey Monkey. SurveyMonkey.com seems to be one of the most used survey software tools. We will try to see why. This review is written while we are performing the tasks, step by step.
Signing up for a free account is very easy. It takes less than a minute because you only need to enter a few details (see screenshot below). An email confirmation of the account creation follows shortly.
We will try to create a new survey to see how easy/difficult that can be. First page is the survey creation page. The survey template library is disabled for the free accounts. We can just create our survey from scratch.
We get redirected to a page where we can add the survey questions. The survey editor looks nice. The look of the survey can be changed. You can choose one of the 15 predefined themes.
Clicking on “Add Question Here” makes a popup with the question editor appear. Personally, I am not a big fan of the popups. In my browser I would prefer to go to a new page when I click on a button.
Seeing the question editor makes me understand why so many people use SurveyMonkey. There are a lot of options here:
- 15 question types, each type having additional options
- Spelling checker for question text in multiple languages (nice)
- Possibility to randomize answers or to add a comment field (only for some question types)
- Possibility to make the question mandatory
- Possibility to change the default question width, placement or margins
Another thing we have liked in the question editor is the possibility to validate open text fields. You can validate the length of the text, make sure it’s a whole number or a decimal number, make sure it’s a valid date or email address.
We have easily created a survey with 6 questions. SurveyMonkey has a nice preview page where you can see how your survey will look into your respondents’ browser.
The survey has a lot of other options that can be set (some of them are disabled for the free account):
- Page and question numbering
- Upload logo (disabled for the free account)
- Progress bar settings
- Survey title and navigation buttons text
It’s time now to start collecting some responses for our survey. Since the preview url warns us not to use it for live data collecting, we have to click on the “Collect Responses” tab located at the top of our survey.
There are several options to collect responses to our survey:
- Create a link to send by email or place on a site
- Upload an email list and send email invitations
- Create a popup invitation for a site
We will use the first option. Here is the link we have created for our survey:
Additional settings and restrictions can be set for our collector:
- Allow or not multiple responses from the same user
- Allow users to edit their responses
- Save IP address for the respondent or not
- Survey cutoff date/time
- Maximum number of responses needed
- Password protection
- IP Blocking
It’s time to enter some answers to our survey to be able to generate some reports after that. The survey page looks nice and fast. Takes less than a minute to complete our few questions. Upon survey completion, we are redirected to a SurveyMonkey landing page (this cannot be change for free accounts):
We have entered some responses and now trying to generate the report. Clicking on “Analyze results” tab in survey, you get sent to the “Response Summary”. The report does not look too spectacular but it’s ok I guess.
You also have the possibility to browse individual responses.
The rest of the reporting features are disabled for the free account. Maybe if we could get a paid account we could review those also:
- Filter responses
- Crosstab Responses
- Download responses
- Share Responses
That’s about it so far related to SurveyMonkey.com.
Things we liked:
- Easy to create an account
- Easy to create a survey
- Lots of survey and question options
- Some AJAX/Web 2.0 pages
Things we did not like:
- Popups. It’s ok to have popups for confirmations, but I do not like them for full pages such as the question editor
- The responses collection, although it’s powerful, it’s a little bit too complicated. Most of the users will just need a url to put on a web site.
- You only get 10 questions and 100 responses per survey for the free accounts. I guess it’s ok for academic purposes.