Try Google Docs for survey or recruitment forms

Just a quick note to recommended using Google Docs ‘forms’ as a free tool to manage surveys and recruitment. (Choose New, then Form).

We recently wanted to invite people to participate in user research for the drupal.org redesign project – as a part of this we had a short screener we wanted to run people through so that we can target research appropriately in the coming months (and also get some interesting stats – more on that soon!).

Initially I was planning to use Ethnio, as it is purpose built for this, looks pretty and has a kind of nice DHTML ‘not-popup’. I couldn’t get it working though, so then turned to the ever trusty Survey Monkey, but… eh, so ugly! At the last minute I thought of Google Docs and that’s where we stayed.

Super easy to set up, and a nice clean looking interface out of the box, plus no worries being charged for having too many responses. Easy peasy.

We have since almost 900 responses in a just few days and it seems to have held up nicely.

So, if you are looking for a nice tool to use as a screener or a questionnaire and you’re not too fussed about customising the look and feel, I’d heartily recommend Google Docs.

Disclaimer, disclaimer etc. I’m sure Ethnio works beautifully for lots of people. I tried to get it working for several days without luck and by the time support got back to me, we had hundreds of survey responses to the Google version. I’m also sure you can make Survey Monkey look grand, but I don’t know how and didn’t want to spend the time finding out.

5 Responses to “Try Google Docs for survey or recruitment forms”

  1. Todd Zaki Warfel September 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    We typically use SurveyMonkey, but can’t say that I really like the aesthetics of the thing, either the admin interface or the final survey interface. It just looks grade schoolish. We’ve kicked around building our own a number of times.

    I’ll have to give Google Docs a try.

  2. nate bolt September 6, 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    Bummer Ethnio was down while you were trying to use it – we’ve been having trouble keeping up with demand but are working on it. I’ll totally check out the google docs method sounds interesting.

  3. Kevin Arthur September 6, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    Interesting… I didn’t know Google Docs had progressed this far. It looks pretty good but still lacking a lot of the options SurveyMonkey has (for multi-row rating scales, for example).

    SurveyMonkey allows you to customize themes (this may just be a paid feature — I’m not sure), so you can fix it up a little. It’s still not the most attractive but it gets the job done (in my case at least, doing hardware usability, so visual style isn’t a big factor).

  4. Jacques September 7, 2008 at 4:41 am #

    Since I’m using Drupal I’m using the Webform module to manage surveys and collect results. It never failed on me and is very powerful.

  5. leisa.reichelt September 7, 2008 at 8:04 am #

    @Jacques – yes, i did wonder when i’d be offered a Drupal solution! I don’t know Drupal well enough to have used it myself I’m afraid but look forward to exporing this more in the future. Thanks for the tip!