written by Timon Witt, 2x4 Solutions GmbH
Since some time, surveys with utilizing new technology like AJAX created more and more problems for SurveyTester, or more precisely the testing with SurveyTester.
We always knew that the process wasn’t perfect, but we had problems figuring out how to make it better. Our aim is to make life easier for everyone who uses SurveyTester. That is our fundamental goal. We didn’t want anyone having to click hundreds of check boxes each day or wasting time in all the repetitive tasks in survey creation. But what we reached with SurveyTester was like a double-edged sword in some points: we invented features like “auto answer” and “jumping” to save you from clicking, but at the same time we increased the page loading times while you were testing, simply because of the underlying technology.
It was also very difficult and frustrating for us to add support for more survey technologies. The only fully supported ones were Dimensions and ConfirmIt. To be completely honest, it wasn’t very enjoyable, trying to intervene in these third party technologies at a really deep and complex level. That stood in the way of helping more people with their surveys and their testing success everyday.
Apart from these, many more things were disturbing us for a long time. You might know that slight uneasy feeling that you are doing something that could be far better and still has room for improvement. But you just continue doing it for some reason. Until you realize that something is off and from one moment to another there is a need, an urge to do something against it – NOW.
This is what we want for you and us
1. Best user experience when testing with SurveyTester
As you already know, testing with SurveyTester had pros and cons. A huge negative aspect were longer loading times between the separate pages. Sometimes it even completely failed and was just throwing up random unpreventable errors. That was unacceptable. We didn’t want that anymore.
Another issue was the chance, that some surveys visually looked different when they were tested with SurveyTester. That was due to the fact that we changed the HTML Code. That meant that you could only trust and rely on it up to a certain extent. What we want, is that you can test your survey, just like without SurveyTester. No differences but the great and useful features that make it easier, faster and more enjoyable.
2. Support for many survey technologies
If you have used SurveyTester before, you created your surveys with either Dimensions or ConfirmIt. That’s because we didn’t support any other technologies or providers, as we like to call them. The technology we relied on made it difficult to implement support for more of them. And that meant that there were many people out there, that were still going through the tedious task of repetitive and boring surveys. It was, and is, our duty to help all of them, but we couldn’t – YET. We wanted to be able to easily add more providers as we like. So we could help as many people as possible.
3. A fast and good looking interface
Using software is always more fun when it comes along with a nice design and a well thought interface. Unfortunately, that was not always the case for SurveyTester. Last year we put months of effort in redesigning and developing the whole SurveyTester platform new from scratch – just to have the possibility to make it better this time. We believe that we did a great job and the new version that we now have is so much better than the old one.
The same applies to the testing part of SurveyTester. Until now, we can’t imagine that anyone was impressed by, for example, the issues table. We can do better than that and it should look as good as you would expect from a big design company (which we aren’t). We want you to have fun and a have a great experience using it.
OK, so here’s the question: what do they mean by transparency? Well, what we meant is, that even though the old technology behind the testing worked, no one had an idea of how. Let’s take the ‚Jump to a page‘ – feature as an example. You pressed the button that says it will redirect you to the desired page of your survey. After a nice animation and a few seconds later you were there. Like magic. You probably had no idea how that was working, but you got where you wanted. So you got that going for you, which is nice.
Ok, the reason why we don’t want that ‚magic attack‘ is, that you should always know and see what happens with your survey. It is your survey, and everything SurveyTester does, should be completely transparent to you. If you tell SurveyTester to jump to a page for you, simply all answers are clicked for you automatically in the background – just like you did it yourself. You, as the user, need to be able to see the magic!
We knew what we wanted. Everyone in the team put their brains in hyper mode to find a solution. A solution that makes it all possible and was even better than the old way of testing. A thousand ideas were circling in our minds and on our clip boards in the office. Until the final thought caught our attention, and after studying it and researching, if all the aspects wanted for a good testing experience were possible, we began with the development. The SurveyTester browser extension was born.
Many weeks of hard work later, we had the first prototype. It was a real challenge to get there and without the years of experience that we had with survey technologies, we wouldn’t have made it.
Today we have the first ready to use version of the SurveyTester browser extension. When looking back, and reviewing all the points we wanted, we believe that we can really say: we got all of them! And we did all of this not only for us, but especially for you. It makes us extremely happy knowing, that we took a significant step towards helping people out there. We hope that the extension will bring you even more enjoyment everyday, lets you waste less time in testing your surveys and brings your team and clients closer together.
So, if you haven’t tried the extension yet, please do so. Don’t hang with the old way of testing, even though it is still available. And then please tell us your opinion. Leave some comments below 😉