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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Relations between functionality and usability of Web survey software tools: An empirical evaluation
Year 2009
Access date 30.09.2009

Popularity of web surveys was largely fostered by a development of dedicated software applications. Web survey software tools have, over the last ten years, evolved from primarily command-line-based tools to easy-to-use applications with graphical user interfaces. These tools have become an important market segment, with many applications on the market, differing in terms of functionality, complexity and costs. However, with all software applications a general tradeoff between their user-friendliness (usability) and powerfulness may exist. Feature-rich solutions may require a high amount of learning and/or even some programming skills, while user-friendly and intuitive applications may offer too few features. In our study, we investigate whether such tradeoff exists also for web survey software.

In the first part, we provide an overview of software tools available on the market. We analyze availability of selected basic features of the tools included in the WebSM database. In addition, we re-analyze a sample of 72 software tools that were already included in a study conducted in 2006. This offers some empirical insight into a development of these applications.

The main part of the paper is devoted to empirical analysis of relations between powerfulness and user-friendliness of web survey software. Several evaluators were asked to implement a standardized web survey in each of the 27 selected tools. After implementing the questionnaire in each software tool, the evaluators were asked to complete the Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI) questionnaire, aimed at measuring the user satisfaction component of usability. In addition, computers of the evaluators were equipped with a special software, measuring time and number of clicks and keystrokes separately for each part of the test survey project. Two other evaluators independently evaluated the tools according to a comprehensive list of available features. On the basis of the collected data, analysis of relations between powerfulness and different components of usability is conducted.

The results of the analysis serve for a final discussion of the role of different usability aspects in selecting web survey software for different purposes and in different organizational specifics, including survey implementation needs and policies, available resources, technical staff and knowledge.

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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
Full text availabilityAvailable on request

Web survey bibliography - Internet Survey Methodology workshop 2009 (21)