Let’s face it, creating online surveys can be a real pain, especially if you want those surveys to be hosted on your own server and integrated directly into the existing framework of your own website. You would either have to build the functionality from the ground up or use an existing product and either hack it into your site or build a new skin to create the illusion of the surveys being seamlessly integrated with your overall design.
“I’ve had to create surveys in the past myself,” says Ward about the creation of the application, “and it’s always been a process that I felt took much longer than it should have. I also haven’t been all that impressed with the interfaces of some of the survey products that I’ve tried. So, I set out to create a better solution. That solution is Survd.
“Basically, the intention was to create a product that was as close to being plug-and-play as possible. I envisioned a self-hosted solution that could be uploaded, installed quickly, and which allow users to start setting up their surveys pretty much immediately. That was the vision, and I think that the initial release does a pretty good job at reflecting that.”
That it does. Once you’ve purchased your license, Survd does install quickly and easily. It’s just a matter of filling in some basic information and you’re all set.
From there, you can go on and easily start creating your own surveys through the app’s simple and easy to use interface.
“I also just wanted to make surveys easier to create,” Ward said about the UI. “With some other software that I’ve used, creating questions means jumping back and forth between different pages. With Survd, though, I wanted to keep everything contained within a single page, without having it get cluttered and difficult to navigate.
“The solution was to start making use of some of the incredible tools that we have at our disposal today. Building off of jQuery, its UI addons and some additional plugins, I set out to create an environment where all the key information was available from a single page. Users are able to reveal information they need, hide information they don’t, and move information around the page to sort questions and values. Even things like validation can be done right there on the same page.”
Ease of use certainly seems to be one of the hallmarks of Survd, and it stretches beyond just the survey creation interface. Deleting and even cloning surveys is a breeze, and you can derive key information about your survey responses using the elegant reporting features. The in-application help documentation also makes life easier, by opening in a modal box on the existing window, allowing you to quickly find the help you need, then get back to work, all without ever navigating to another, external page.
As for deployment, Survd makes that relatively easy through its simple install page. Just answer a couple of questions, select the survey you want to deploy and the application will generate the required code, which you can simply copy and paste into your site. That’s all there is to it!
With the wide range of functionality offered by this application, both in terms of survey creation and its UI, it’s actually surprising how small of a footprint it actually has. The current uncompressed core weighs in at less than 1.5 MB, and the intention is to keep it as small and lightweight as possible.
“Yeah we definitely want to keep it small,” Ward noted about his application. “We want ‘lightweight’ to be one of the key qualities of our product, and are already looking at ways to both reduce the size of what we have now, and how to minimize bloat as we grow.
“One option we’re considering is to use a plugin/addon architecture, so that we can continue to offer a simple, lightweight core with the option of including modules for additional types of functionality. And speaking of plugins, we will also be developing a WordPress plugin to help streamline integration on WordPress powered sites. If that flies, we may also release plugins/addons/modules for other open source CMS applications too.
“Basically, though, Survd is just getting started. There is a whole range of different features and options that I am looking at adding on, and we’re getting great feedback from the community about what they’re looking for. It’s an exciting time, watching news about the app spread and laying the foundation for future growth.”