Best Survey & Forms Building Tools include:
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Survey & Forms Building Tools Overview
What is Survey & Forms Building?
An online survey is a questionnaire that people can complete over the Internet.
Online surveys are typically created as Web forms. Answers are then stored in a database. Statistical software can provide analytics based on the answers.
Survey tools let users create and distribute surveys. From there, users can collect, report and analyze survey responses. Some survey tools act as comprehensive research platforms. These tools include advanced analytics and crowdsourcing for responses. Other survey and forms building tools focus on the survey creation and response. Users can then use other resources (like Excel) to complete the review process.
Survey Tools Features & Capabilities
Most survey tools support the creation of online surveys. Some tools also support paper surveys with a ‘print’ option. Advanced survey tools include the creation and deployment of phone surveys. All formats include a collection mechanism for response data. Survey tools usually offer a method for manually entering response data.
Designing the look and feel of a survey is central to all survey tools. Most tools include survey templates with layouts and themes to choose from. Often, more flexibility in appearance is available for a higher price. Free tools typically include the vendor’s logo on the survey. This interferes with company branding. Custom branding is a priority for many business use cases.
The most important features for survey content include three areas: Question types, question design, and survey flow.
For question types, complex survey tools usually include a broader range than simpler tools.
Survey question types to consider include:
Open-ended free response
Users often say that question design is a very difficult aspect of using survey tools successfully. Some tools include educational material for research design. This material includes tips, recommendations and best practices.
Beyond question type and design is the survey flow. This is the order of the questions within a survey. Complex survey tools allow custom question pathways. This creates a more relevant survey based on respondents demographic information and previous answers.
Survey logic features allow users to set up custom question pathways. This helps users segment respondents in analysis. It also personalizes surveys based on contextual information from the respondent. Examples of survey logic include:
Different tools support different types of logic and to varying levels of complexity.
Analytics & Reporting
Most survey tools include basic results reporting capabilities. This means reviewing and assessing answers upon survey completion. Many tools also include reporting on respondent demographics.
Some tools have more advanced built-in analytics. Others are meant to be used alongside another product, like Excel or SPSS. In these cases, data export capabilities and integrations are important. Be aware that some vendors charge more for data export.
Some survey tools can be integrated with related tools. Depending on the use case, these integrations include:
Social media platforms
Email marketing tools
Some tools can also be embedded on a company website for customer feedback.
Notifications and alerts (triggered by responses or opt-outs)
Scheduling for survey publication and closure
Follow-up emails to respondents
Admin & Security
Survey administration and security features are important for larger organizations and studies. Admin and security features allow users to:
Manage multiple users and use roles
Maintain survey ownership
Manage response data permissions
Some survey tools even support data compliance standards, such as HIPPA.
Most survey tools enable survey distribution via email. This can be through the tool or via the user’s personal email account. Other tools have cross-channel distribution. The capability allows distribution and tracking via social media or a company website.
In the interest of branding, many tools offer custom URLs for survey distribution. Another distribution feature is anonymous response collection and respondent restrictions. This allows users to set controls related to audience demographics.
In some use cases, there is no pre-existing contact pool. Some vendors offer paid crowdsourcing options, giving users access to an audience or panel of respondents.
Free Online Survey Tools
Many survey tools have free offerings. Examples include:
Some free tools allow surveys with unlimited questions and responses. More often, price scales with survey size. Paid versions add capabilities, including:
Reporting & Analytics
Users tend to recommend free tools for smaller-scale surveys. However, free tools do not work for every use case. Some free tools have better aesthetics, but others offer more detailed reports. Selecting a free survey tool depends, to some extent, on your priorities.
Survey Research Use Cases
There are several different research use cases for surveys. The three most common include:
Customer satisfaction surveys
Employee feedback surveys (360 Degree feedback)
Some vendors offer different versions to cover these different survey types.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Customer satisfaction surveys are used to collect information about a customer’s experience. The goal is typically quality assurance or suggestions for new product developments. Surveys are usually distributed via email to customer contacts. Another option is to embed the survey as an intercept popup on a website. Visitors and customers can complete the survey directly.
Employee Engagement & Feedback
Employee feedback surveys collect information about employee performance, engagement and satisfaction. They are most often completed anonymously. The process is sometimes called 360 Degree feedback. This is because the survey population is all people working in a company.
Research studies are usually larger scale surveys. Users can analyze survey responses within the context of respondents’ demographic information. Research surveys are used by marketing researchers and academic institutions. Important features include analytics, survey logic and privacy of information. Some survey tools have dedicated versions to this type of use case.
Survey tools are usually priced by the number of respondents and analytics capabilities in a subscription model. At the basic level, survey tools can be completely free. This works for smaller audiences and small-scale surveys. Paid survey platforms start at around $15/mo. for up to 1,000 respondents and basic reporting. Pricing can run up to a few hundred dollars monthly. This level typically includes integrations, analytics, and thousands of respondents.