Designing Surveys

Adding Surveys

New surveys can either be created from scratch or by copying an existing survey. When creating a survey by copying an existing survey, the existing survey is copied in its entirety with the exception of survey responses. All survey options – question, page conditions, etc. – are copied to the new survey. After copying the survey, you can then change the name of the survey, and modify its details.

There are multiple ways to add a new Survey:

Method 1 Method 2 Method 3
  1. Navigate to Modules > Surveys.
  2. Click on Work with Surveys.
  3. Click on the Create New Survey button.
  1. Navigate to Modules > Surveys.
  2. Below the Work with Surveys menu option, click on Add.
  1. Navigate to Modules > Surveys
  2. Click on Work with Surveys.
  3. Click on the Create Survey at the top page menu.


Designing Surveys

Each survey can contain an unlimited number of questions distributed amongst any number of pages. A survey should contain multiple pages if page conditions are desired, or to limit the number of questions per page. New pages are inserted into a survey by clicking the NEW PG buttons in the appropriate location.

  • The look and feel of every survey is determined by the formatting associated with that particular template. The template formatting for each survey can be set on the survey options page. See the section Templates below for more information on using templates.
  • New items can be added to a survey either by creating them from scratch or by copying an existing item on the same survey. When copying an existing item, the entire item, with all possible responses, if applicable, is copied into the survey. The item can then be modified as desired.
  • Every page in the survey may optionally include a title or an introduction. If either the title or the introduction is omitted for a particular page, that page is rendered without the title or introduction, as specified.
  • Some responses can be scored based on an associated point value.
  • Page conditions can be inserted or updated by clicking the INSERT PAGE CONDITION or EDIT PAGE CONDITION buttons that appear at the top of each page.

Note that these buttons are not displayed for the first page in a survey, since the first page must be displayed and therefore cannot have page conditions associated with it.

  • New questions or items can have note text displayed from prior responses using the Piped Answers option.
  • The main page for designing surveys displays visual representations of all the questions. Note that because of menu options and design element controls, the way the questions are displayed on this page is not exactly the same as they are displayed in an actual survey. Use the Preview functionality to see how the survey will actually appear.


Templates are used to fully define the look and feel of surveys. There is no limit to the number of templates a user may create. Each survey must be associated with a template, and any number of surveys can be associated with a single template. Modifying a template changes the look and feel of all surveys associated with that template.

Templates are used to define all of the following:

  • Logo (optional)
  • Border width and color (optional)
  • Background color
  • Alternating colors for matrix questions
  • All font styles
  • Navigation buttons or links

The application contains a default template called, Default Template. This template is associated with all new surveys. This template cannot be removed from the system, but it can be modified as desired.

New templates can be created either by creating a new template from scratch or by copying an existing template. Templates can be deleted if they are not associated with any surveys. When setting the template for a survey, only surveys that are marked as active can be selected.

The look and feel of any template can be viewed by clicking one of the Preview buttons, which are located on the template list page, the template details page, and next to the template dropdown on the survey details page.

Item Types

The application contains over twenty different Item Types. Many of the Item Types are questions that request a response from the user, while others are simply formatting elements for HTML, messages, images. etc.

Item Type Options Notes
  • Multiple Answers (Checkboxes)
  • One Answer (Dropdown)
  • One Answer (Option Buttons)
  • True/False
  • Yes/No
  • Multiple Answers per Row (Checkboxes)
  • Multiple Answers per Row (Textboxes)
  • One Answer per Row (Option Buttons)
  • Rating Scale (Numeric)
Open Ended
  • Comments Box
  • Constant Sum
  • Date
  • Number
  • One Line
  • One or More Lines
  • Ranking
  • Heading
  • Horizontal Rule (HR)
  • HTML
  • Image
  • Message
Any Images added must be accessible from an external internet connection.
  • Allow users to add attachments to a Survey
Attachments are stored in the Surveys/Attachments folder in the site web files.


Point values can be associated with questions that have predefined values. The types of questions that can have points values associated with them are checkboxes, option buttons, and dropdown lists.

Not all question types support point values, and it's possible that not all answers to a question that does support scored surveys will have a point value associated with it. Therefore, when calculating the score for a survey, any question or answer to a question that does not have a point value associated with it is simply ignored. Data about the scores for any survey with point values associated with it can be viewed, by default, in the reports.

Page Conditions

Page conditions are the mechanism by which pages in a multi-page survey are optionally displayed. That is, other than the first page in a survey, each page may be shown to or hidden from the respondent based on the page conditions associated with the page. If a page does not contain any page conditions, the page is always displayed to the user.

The page conditions are based on the responses given to a question or series of questions on a prior page or pages in the survey. A page condition can be based on any question on any prior page, not just the previous page. If the conditions on a survey evaluate to “True,” the page is displayed. Similarly, if any of the page conditions evaluate to “False,” the page is hidden from the respondent.

Each condition is created by selecting a question from a prior page, selecting an operator, and entering or selecting the value to be compared using the selected operator. The appropriate operators and, if applicable, the predefined answers for a question, are displayed depending on the type of question selected.

Each page condition must be part of a group, and each page in a survey can use up to five groups. A group is a way AND vs. OR logic has been implemented in the application. The conditions within a single group are evaluated using AND logic, while each group is combined together using OR logic. Thus, a page is displayed if at least one group evaluates to “True,” even if all other groups on the page are “False.” A single group evaluates to “True” if all of the individual conditions within that group evaluate to “True.”


To better illustrate how groups work, let’s use an example of a page in a survey that has two groups, each of which has two conditions.

The page will be displayed if:

  • Both conditions in the first group evaluate to “True” (regardless of how the second group evaluates)
  • Both conditions in the second group evaluate to “True” (regardless of how the first group evaluates)

The page will NOT be displayed if:

  • Each group has at least one condition that evaluates to “False”

Example 2:

As a second example, a survey contains five pages.

  • The first page contains a single question which is a dropdown box prompting the user to select his/her gender.
  • If the user selects “Male,” the fifth page should be displayed.
  • If the user selects “Female,” page two, three, and four (but not five) should be displayed.

To implement, page conditions are added to the second, third, fourth, and fifth pages of the survey. Each page has a single page condition, all of which use the question from the first page.

  • On pages two, three, and four, the page condition uses an EQUAL operator and the value “Female.”
  • On the fifth page, the page condition again uses an EQUAL operator, with the value “Male.”

In the case where “Male” is selected on the first page, the user “skips” from the first page to the fifth page.

This type of skip logic is commonly used and is a good example of how every page in a survey can be conditionally displayed to the user.

Piping Answers

Displaying the answer to one question in the text of a subsequent question is called answer piping.

For example,

On the first page of your survey, you might have a question that asks the user for his/her name. On a subsequent page, you would like to begin a question using the respondent's name. This is accomplished by piping the answer from the first question into the desired location on the second page.

To set up answer piping, simply insert a pipe token into the desired location in either the question text or subtext. The format for the token is #xxx#, where xxx represents the ID of the item whose answer should be inserted in that location. To make this process as easy as possible, on the main page for modifying surveys (ModifySurvey.asp), there is a small PIPE button next to each question. Clicking on this button brings up a small window that contains the text of the token to use to pipe the answer to that question. Simply copy the token text, and then paste it into the desired location on any subsequent question.

It is important to note that piped answers must always originate from an earlier page in the survey.  Piped answers cannot be shown on the same page as the original response.


Previewing Surveys

All surveys with one or more items can be “previewed” by actually taking the survey. After taking the survey, simply click the Clear link on the main list of surveys to delete the response, and you may continue modifying the survey as desired. Survey testing and previewing are done by taking the actual survey to ensure that you are testing the exact same survey that your end-users will be taking.

There are two ways a user may preview a survey.

  • The first is on the main list of surveys, click the Title of the survey, which will display the survey in a new window, just as your users will see it.
  • The second way is to click on the Deploy link on the main list of surveys, which will give several options for how to deploy the surveys. You may use any of these links to test the survey.

After previewing a survey, the response is written to the database. When attempting to modify a survey with responses, a message is displayed at the top of the page for modifying surveys indicating that the survey has at least one response, and therefore is subject to only limited modifications. Along with this message is a link that you can use to clear the responses to this survey, which will then allow full modifications.