Product Review: Survd – Surveys In A Snap!
Survd – Surveys In A Snap
NOTE: Just so you readers are aware, I was given a free copy of Survd to review. I’ve seen other people say this type of thing, so I am just covering myself.
Matt Ward has a good blog, which you may have heard of, called Echo Enduring. It wouldn’t be surprising, because he is part of Smashing Magazine’s Smashing Network. I don’t remember how I actually found him, but I’ve been reading his posts for at least half a year. I’ve commented on a few articles, and found Matt to be better than most writers, but he apparently does more than write blog posts though.
Matt has created a web app called Survd, a “simple app for creating surveys that runs on your own website, saving you hours of development time.” I wanted to see if that was actually true, but since I haven’t actually created a survey before, I wanted to try it out before I paid for it.
Please note that Survd requires jQuery, which shouldn’t be a problem for most people.
I am going to guess that if you purchase Survd, you will get the same thing that I did. Which is a registration code and a download link. Once you have it unzipped, you literally just upload the folder onto your server, open a web browser and type in the path to it. Once there, you fill out a small form which will include entering in the registration code you were given. It will then take you to a login screen, and you are then able to create your first survey. You really cannot get any easier than that.
Creating a survey
The interface is straight forward. If you don’t have a survey created, you simply click on New Survey. If you do have one already made and you want to edit it, either click on the name you gave the survey, which will show up in the dashboard, or click on Edit Existing under the Survey menu.
Once you have started a new survey, you find a Properties sidebar on the right that asks you for some basic things about the form: what do you want to call it, a description, how do you want the submissions saved (CSV or XML), do you want to be notified of entries, and the notification email.
Creating the questions is the really good part. I found myself a couple of times saying “Self, how do I do….oh, like that. Cool.” Making a survey is intuitive, and the really clean (and nicely styled) look helps a lot. Nothing gets in the way of what you are doing.
The little things really make me happy as well, like the ability to drag and drop radio button values. If you don’t like the order you created them in, simply drag the one you want repositioned to the desired spot.
Installing the Survey
So now that you have the survey all nice and neat, what the hell do you do with it? Good question. Under Surveys, there is an Install button for you to click, and it will give you some easy instructions to follow:
- Step 1: Link to the scripts
- Step 2: Including the survey block
- Step 3: Initialize the survey
Step 1 is just adding the required scripts you need for the survey to work, one of which is jquery. Step 2 is the block of code you need to display the survey (basically an id’d div), and step 3 is the little jQuery chunk that will attach what it needs to the div. Trust me, it is as easy as it sounds.
Getting the data
I thought if there was going to be something difficult about this app, it would be the reporting. I was wrong. There is a nice theme that goes on in Survd: the buttons do what they say. Clicking on the Reports button brings you to a page that lets you select some options for viewing the data. First select the survey you want to see, and then how you want the data to be displayed (table or pie chart). Then you have a choice, click Generate Report, which will show you the data nicely displayed for you, or Download Results. Pretty self-explanatory.
What makes Survd great though, is the fact that a database is NOT required. No need to know or understand mySQL. This makes it easy for anyone to use, not just developers.
My real thoughts on Survd
I really like how simple this product is. It doesn’t set out to do anything but create surveys. There are products that try to do to much and end up being bloated or very hard to use. Survd gets to the point, and lets you start creating surveys right away.
Installation is a breeze, the interface is easy to understand, and the clean look serves it well. I haven’t created a survey before, and this product made the whole process perfectly easy. Getting the survey up and running onto a page took no time at all, with easy to follow instructions. The help section in Survd is fairly well done as well, and if you have any issues at all, there is a support page on its website.
I really only have 2 issues with Survd, one is the use of the word “Install” when you are done creating your survey. I was nervous hitting that button because I didn’t know what it would do. Luckily it only brings you to the instructions page on how to get the survey up and running. There has got to be a better word than that. Not sure what you could use, but I am guessing that could freak out some non-developers using it.
Second…and you already saw this from the demo survey I put up. There are absolutely no styles. Matt intended that, but I personally would have liked a little CSS to give it a border and some padding. I’ll go and do that myself later on (I’ll have to come up with some nice Sass mixins for it of course), but it adds a little time to get it all nice and pretty. If there were just a few basic styles, the survey is ready out of the box. This is really a nit-pick because once you do it, every form will be styled after that.
I think what makes Survd awesome is the price point. At the moment you can get it for $39.99 (regular price is $49.99), which is just about the amount I would pay for this app. There is no monthly fees, just the one time payment. If you create even just a few surveys in a year, the ease of use of Survd makes it a no brainer. Now that I have it, I plan on using it. Ya, I’m gonna be asking you all sorts of craziness. I 100% recommend Survd, and thanks to whoever sent the tweet to me about it.
Extra credit notes