I remember the first time I ever used Survey Monkey. There was nothing else like it at the time, at least not that I had ever used, and I was impressed by how much you could do for free. The one thing that really stuck with me about this online survey software, though, was how clumsy the interface felt. The whole experience was a bit confusing, and I ended up revisiting the site only several years later.
Things have definitely improved in that time. There are some more options, and the interface has probably been cleaned up a little. But in the final analysis, it will be difficult for me to say that things have changed enough. I still felt constricted using Survey Monkey, and the plain HTML-based survey creation interface may have been even less appealing on account of just feeling old. I’m used to things like Gmail and Checkvist–clean, straightforward AJAX interfaces that work intuitively. I’m no longer accustomed to having to click through a series of buttons just to get what I want done.
To see what I mean, just take a look at some competing products such as ActiveCampaign Survey Software. You get a clean, modern, wysiwyg survey design interface, and you just drag your questions around to place them where you want them. The fact that this stuff costs the exact same price per month to use makes me think that Survey Monkey had better improve fast or it’ll lose popularity just as fast as it gained it.
Another thing you can’t do with Survey Monkey is create distinct “branches” in your survey, or lines of questioning that depend on previous answers. All the most modern survey designs require this, and by using it you can get much more specific information than is possible with simpler and more old-fashioned surveys. But that’s really all you can create with Survey Monkey’s web survey tool. They have finally baked in a little bit of basic survey logic, but their tool has a ways to go if it is going to catch up with the competition.
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