Forms or Survey – that’s the question

feedbackA few years ago I wrote a post “What SharePoint can learn from SurveyMonkey” and it is now time to revisit.

With the introduction of Forms in Office365 I was curious how the various survey tools compare. As a SharePoint List can also be used to collect information, I have added that as well. It has some special characteristics that could make it a good choice in some scenarios.
I have some personal experience with Google Forms, and Forms is rumoured to be based on that, so I have added that to the mix as well.

So these are the 5 options compared:

  • Office365 Forms
  • SharePoint Survey
  • SharePoint List
  • SurveyMonkey (free version)
  • Google Forms

What did I do?

I have created a 10-question survey based on the 8 basic Q&A options of Forms.
Then I recreated the same survey in the other tools. In cases where there was not a straightforward solution, I tried to find a workaround.
I have not applied branching logic, as I already have a lot of information to share.

In a next post I will look at the general settings per survey. Can you change the colour scheme, can you add a logo, how do you start or stop a survey, etc.

Finally, and this will also be another post, I will compare the ways you can see and manage results. How are results displayed, can you export them to a spreadsheet, is there any way you can filter results or have different options to display them?

Questions and Answers

Forms has 8 Q and A types, but some of them can be used in different ways – e.g. a Choice question can be a one choice only (radio button) or a multiple choice (check boxes), and the Text can be a short text, a long text, and a number.

The Net Promoter Score has recently been added but I personally think it is superfluous (it can be replaced with a Rating scale) and also annoying to receive. However, there is something special about it which I will share later. 😉

Experience them yourself! (and help me)

Please check out and complete the surveys below, to have an idea of their look-and-feel. Please do not use real data, as I will use the inputs only for demonstrating how results will be displayed:

Forms

SurveyMonkey  (will close after 100 responses – limitation of the free version)

Google Forms

Results

I have captured the results in the picture below. You can also view/download this as Excel. You can use and edit it, but I would appreciate if you would mention my name if you share it outside of your organization.

Legend:

  • Green/Yes: Available by default, although it may have different names
  • Orange: Available with a workaround
  • Red/No: Not available
SurveyComparison-QandA
The results of the comparison of Question and Answers.

Conclusion

No two Survey tools are alike. Duh!

In general, the SharePoint options appear to be most different and the most limited, but they can be useful, especially when used within an organization, for which they have been developed:

  • They have more Q and A types (e.g. currency, People and Groups lookup, a lookup from an existing list, Managed Metadata) which may be needed now and then. The List also has Calculations and Site Columns to select from.
  • They can detect unique values, which is essential in case you are collecting unique numbers, such as machine, procedure or invoice numbers.

SurveyMonkey has a few annoying limitations in the free version, such as max. 10 questions, the lack of a “number” option or the absence of a description field for each question. But it also has some very nice things:

  • Add answer options in bulk to Choice questions – nice when you have many answer options
  • Display a large number of answer options in columns rather than a long list
  • Ask to “tick at least x options” in a multiple-choice question

There are some differences between Forms, SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. But in general, you can create decent survey questions with all of them.

What are your thoughts? Or do you prefer to wait until I have completed the comparison?

Image courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay.

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4 thoughts on “Forms or Survey – that’s the question

  1. curtica November 11, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    Thank you! The comparison chart is very helpful.

    • Ellen van Aken November 11, 2018 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks, good to know it is useful! More of those charts will be in the next posts.

  2. Scott Lewis November 12, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the comparison chart, I’m sure it will be “ever changing” as Microsoft adds more and more functionality and integration points!

    I’d like to add a few more “benefits” to your list:

    1) Integration with Flow (one of the most popular Flow templates is to “save responses to a SharePoint list” through a simple, single action in Flow) which opens up all of the possibilities/benefits that SharePoint (and also Teams, Groups, etc.) has to offer, as well as even better survey results analysis (PowerBI, export to Excel, etc.) natively from the list

    2) Embedding the Form into a (Modern) SharePoint page using the “Flow” web part (also extends to “Teams” now as Forms can be added to a Teams Channel) – this makes it “appear” like the form is directly on the SharePoint page (or Teams Channel), so no need for the users to go to the “forms” site in a separate window/URL

    • Ellen van Aken November 13, 2018 / 7:25 am

      Thanks, Scott! The integration with Flow is something I will add to the comparison. I am not THAT familiar yet with Flow. The embedding on page/Team is indeed another plus and already part of my upcoming post. 🙂
      Cheers, Ellen

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