The US election of 2008 may go down in history as the most polled and surveyed election ever. Voter opinions and backgrounds were sliced and diced in hundreds of ways.
Some online polls showed instant results. Is there a way to use your Mac to make, create, deploy online polls and surveys for your organization or business?
The answer is an unqualified yes. Macs are great devices to store poll and survey data, display the results in graphic form, and even prepare an online web site for an internet poll or survey.
As an example, Mac360 has used ChumpSoft’s polls and surveys software for many years.
The problem with such applications is PHP and MySQL—both requirements and both not for the average Mac user. ChumpSoft takes some of the effort out of creating and managing an online poll and survey with Survey Factory.
A hosted service such as Survey Factory is easy to manage but can be expensive. Is there a good solution for less money? Yes, but with a few gotchas.
BeboSoft’s popular Mediata Survey may be an attractive alternative. It’s a Mac application which creates online, web-based multi-page surveys.
Mediata runs on your Mac. Use it to create, via point and click and text entry, your customized surveys. When you’re done, the survey still needs to be uploaded to a web server which runs PHP, MySQL, or PostgreSQL.
Of course, your Mac can also be set up with the popular and free MAMP, which stands for Mac, Apache web server, MySQL, and PHP. It’s drag and drop install, and works perfectly with Mediata.
Your Mac becomes a perfect office or organization terminal to create polls and surveys. What kind?
Add whatever questions you need, and create multiple pages for longer surveys. Open questions can be created to allow users to enter typed responses.
Other forms include check, multiple choice, or matrix questions. You can set up different conditions, rules, and a variety of options based upon different answers.
Answers to surveys can be validated. The templates for each survey are HTML, which can be customized.
Survey results can be displayed with graphics to make prominent points more visible, easier to digest.
At $99, Mediata is comparable to ChumpSoft’s PHP Questionaire, and because it runs as an application on your Mac, is somewhat easier to use, though both require PHP and MySQL to serve web page surveys.
The interface for Mediata is decidedly easier to use and Mac-like in layout and style.
Online survey results can be very valuable, though the price tags for the applications that create them can be surprisingly steep. Another popular PHP and MySQL application and service is Active Campaign’s iSalient.
This comprehensive utility ranges from $229 to $1,729; substantially beyond the price tags of Mediata or PHP Questionaire at $99.
The only negative for most Mac users will be the requirement to set up and manage a host which provides PHP and MySQL databases.