written by Tim Macer, meaning ltd.
TNS Infratest in Germany makes extensive use of SurveyTester when fielding any new online survey. Rudi Hirmke, global sourcing professional at TNS Infratest, says that over 100 individuals have used the tool since its introduction last year.
“Everyone involved in testing a survey uses it – researchers, scripters for their tests and clients on one or two occasions too,” he says. It is also used to coordinate testing between Germany and TNS’s technical team in India.
Hirmke found it hard to put a finger on all the time TNS Infratest has saved. “If I had to guess, I’d say it was between a third and a half of the time [spent testing surveys].” In his view, “One of the real advantages of the software is that you can reproduce your test, so if you have found a bug and you want to go straight there you just click or reuse the test run and you have the same answers. Before, you had to start from the beginning and you were never sure if you had picked the right answers. If you are testing a 30-minute interview and the bug is near the end, then that can be 30 minutes each time you test it just to get to that point.”
He has also found that managing the process of correcting errors becomes more efficient too. “It is really helpful that you have one place where all of the changes are documented. Earlier we were using different e-mails and files so you were never sure everyone was on the same page.”
SurveyTester can also provide a closed-loop feedback mechanism to reduce particular classes of systematic errors. “One of the big opportunities you have is in defining the categories of errors in Survey Tester,” Hirmke says. “If people consider them carefully, [it means] you can have a look where you most often have problems with meeting the requirements. For example, if you find that 80 percent of the corrections are layout changes, you can discover where you might be able improve the process or improve the skills in that area.“
He concludes: “If you want to have everyone communicating all their changes in one place, there is no better way. This is the best tool for it, end of story!”