Survey software is often associated with run-of-the-mill marketing, HR, or customer service projects. From measuring customer satisfaction to gauging brand awareness to determining employee happiness, practically everyone has taken a standard survey.
But one of the great things about working on survey software day in and day out is that you realize how versatile of a tool it can really be.
We’ve previously covered some of the more creative reasons to create a survey, and today I’m going to explore three unique uses for survey software: online order forms, resumes, and choose your own adventure books.
Online Order Forms
One of our Alchemer technical representatives, Holly, builds custom hula hoops and plans on branching out to doing birthday parties and other events.
To keep her small business organized, she built a simple website and created an order form that allows customers to provide her with everything she needs to get a hoop built and sent directly to the customer.
This form starts by collecting the necessary contact information. The best part of the form, however, is the discount code question.
This question will actually redirect the respondent to a completely separate form where the pricing points are updated to account for the discount code.
To spare the user the hassle of having to re-enter all of their information, Holly collects the data and passes it into the new form using URL variables. This creates a seamless transition for the user and allows Holly to keep track of whether her customers are more likely to make an order if they feel like they’re getting a deal.
Building an Order Form With Survey Software
While survey software might not be your first instinct for creating an order form, with a little ingenuity you can make these already versatile tools work even harder. Here’s how Holly did it.
The first page of the form is really basic. There are a few textbox questions to capture the customer’s name and phone number, and then two radio button questions asking about a discount code and whether or not the product will be shipped.
After this first page, there is a URL Redirect Action. This is what sends users with a discount code into the appropriate form. Anybody who doesn’t have a code will just stay on the original order form.
A redirect action like this passes data from various fields — in this case first and last name, email address, phone number, and shipping details — and uses it to pre-populate the new fields. This saves valuable time for the person completing the form, increasing the chance that they’ll complete the order.
This has created a really user friendly experience by limiting any sort of redundancies between the two forms.
From this point, the two forms no longer differ aside from the pricing a person would see.
The form collects the date that a person needs the hoop by, the type of hoop they’d like (who knew there were multiple types of hula hoops?) and the color/style of taping options.
However, towards the end of the form, there are two more features that make this form really handy for both Holly and the person ordering the hoops.
On the last two pages of the forms (shown in Alchemer above), we see a Payment action and two Send Email Actions.
These actions are why these forms are actually such a valuable tool.
Sure, Holly could get your order and then send you an email acknowledging that she’s received the order. Then she could request that you send her money via Paypal or otherwise and then send you another email confirming that she received the payment.
Instead, all of this activity is all built into the form.
The payment action allows the customer to pay with a credit card that goes straight into Holly’s Stripe account to be processed. This saves everyone the hassle of any additional steps to make the exchange.
The email actions here do two things as well.
The first, called “Notify Holly,” sends to an email directly to Holly letting her know that a hoop has been ordered. In the email, she gets all of the information she needs to build the hoop and get it to you by the date requested, be it by delivery or otherwise.
The second email action, “Notify Hooper,” sends a receipt of purchase to the customer. In this email, there is a downloadable PDF that details the specifics of the order.
All in all, this is a perfect way for both Holly to get the details she needs for orders, stay organized, and give her customers an easy option for ordering.
Resume Website Via Survey Software
Many freelancers and casual job seekers need a way to collect information about their work in a centralized location, but they don’t have the time, inclination, or expertise to create a portfolio website from scratch.
This is another place where survey software can be the unexpected hero by allowing you to create a simple, yet highly useful, resume website.
This example has three parts: an “About Me” section, the text of my resume, and a page linking to writing samples.
How to Build A Simple Website or Resume
You’ll notice that the design of the site is very simple, and the reasons for this are twofold:
- In general, I am a bit of a minimalist and like simple pages
- My CSS and HTML skills are subpar at best
That said, I do like how this turned out and was surprised with how easy it was to build (seriously, if I could do it, anyone can do it).
The actual build of the survey is very straight forward. It contains exclusively text and image elements; there is actually not a single question in the survey.
Page one, for example, contains five elements.
- A header
- An upper navigation bar
- A couple paragraphs about me
- An image
- A lower navigation bar.
The only noteworthy element on this page is the navigation bars.
To set these up, I needed to build the pages that they would link to first.
I created two new pages in my survey and titled them to help me keep track. This wasn’t much of an issue for such a small “website,” but a standard set of naming conventions would be vital if you were turning this into a bigger portfolio.
Next, I created a text element that would be the navigation bar: About Me | Resume | Writing samples.
Then, using the hyperlink tool, I turned my plain-text into links targeting the new pages I set up.
Using this page, I appended the “sgtarget” URL variable to set the link up to the correct page.
Having done this to the three sections, I now have links to send the reader to each of the pages. To save myself some time, I made multiple copies of this element to be placed at the top and bottom of every page.
For the Resume page, I decided to include my actual resume as an image in the survey. I did this for the sake of ease, but you could easily change it up so your resume is actual text on the page.
On the other hand I like that by including the image I could easily link to a downloadable file.
After uploading the image of resume into my file library, I could copy the file URL and turn that into a downloadable link:
Now a potential employer has an easy option to download my resume and keep it on file.
The writing samples page of this resume follows these same principles to create clickable images, linking to actual published articles.
Each image has been added to my Alchemer file library, where I copied the embed code and included that as a text element in the survey. From there, the embed code is wrapped in HTML to link it to the page where it is published.
Below each image is a short descriptive paragraph about the article.
The only other customization this survey needed to take it from survey to resume was hiding the “next” and “back” buttons. I used a simple bit of CSS to target the buttons and set their display to none.
What is left looks like a really simple website that contains everything I wanted to include in a personal website or resume.
As I said, I took the simple route with styling, but the endless possibilities of CSS mean that you could turn a resume site like this into a complete work of digital art.
The Choose Your Own Adventure Book
One of the most unique uses for survey software is the “choose your own adventure” books.
These are similar to R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books in the way that they give you options to determine how the story plays out.
My highly creative colleague Caitlin created one that you can read here. It’s the story of a zombie apocalypse that allows you to create your own path.
In it, you are a character dealing with the outbreak of zombies and must make decisions throughout to try to save yourself.
Spoiler: there’s only one road to salvation. Can you find it?
Building a Choose Your Own Adventure Book
Want to give this a try for yourself? All you need is simple display logic and skip logic to keep the reader in one survey for the entirely of the story.
Based off how you answer questions through the story, you are sent through a maze of pages until you reach one of many conclusions.
On page two of the story, you are forced to make your first decision. A friend of yours is in a bad way and some strangers think that it would be best to eliminate him from the equation. You are asked whether you want to try to save him or let the stranger keep him from becoming a zombie himself.
As you can see, the logic is set up based off of your two options. If you save him, you move on to Page 4. You could also choose to let your friend die and move on to Page 3, where you’ll be faced with your next decision.
The most difficult aspect of building a survey like this is keeping track of the various paths. Even updating this story for the purpose of this article, I frequently got lost and would have to run through the story to make sure that all of my paths made sense.
To help with this problem, it’s a huge help to use the page titles to keep track of where you’ve come from and where you’re going.
Other Creative Ways to Use Your Online Survey Software
Order forms, online resumes, and interactive stories are just a few of the out of the box ways to use survey software. There are many more creative ways to make the most out it, and we’d love to hear your own ideas.
Please feel free to share them in the comments below!