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If you’ve ever tried to make an online survey, you’ve probably tried a few tools here and there. You’ve no doubt enjoyed some features of one product, and some of another, while being frustrated at the limitations you’ve come across. Survey tools we’ve tried and loved at MakeUseOf include PollDaddy, SurveyMonkey, and Survey Legend: They all have their benefits and shortfalls.
You may have already heard of Google’s Form feature, but not given it a try yet. Today I plan to convince you to give it a go. As a previous worshipper of SurveyMonkey and PollDaddy, I am keen to share a few of my biggest reasons for changing to Google Forms as my main survey and form-making tool. It really has changed the way I make forms and surveys. In fact, I’m starting to use them for everything, which brings me to my first reason.
Create Unlimited Free Forms
Most survey tools online will offer a certain amount of free polls or surveys before they start charging you for the service. This is all good and well if you’re a big company, but if you’re just a regular person who loves running polls and surveys, you’re out of luck.
Google, on the other hand, will let you run as many polls and surveys as you like. You can just keep creating new Google Forms until your Google Drive is full. Which, for most people, would take a really long time.
You’ve also got a lot of variety in the types of forms you can build. You can use all sorts of question types and use a variety of themes on your form.
Results Can Go Directly Into a Shareable Spreadsheet
If you love collaborating on things with friends or co-workers, then you’ll appreciate that Google Forms will allow you to share both the editing of the forms and the results with as many people as you like. Everyone can view them at the same time, make edits at the same time and see other people’s edits as they make them. Google’s document sharing abilities far surpasses anything I’ve ever seen on another survey tool. Unbeatable.
Call it what you will: Threading, flow, logic-branching. Whatever – it’s useful. Threading is the ability to change the survey based on answers the participant has given. For instance, if the first question of the survey asks if you are a Mac or Windows user, the following questions can be based on Mac or Windows accordingly. It’s a handy way to avoid clunky wording of questions and ensure the participants only answer relevant questions.
Now, with many popular survey tools, this is available but only as an advanced feature. That means you’re going to pay for the privilege. With Survey Monkey, for instance, the cheapest pro account will cost you 25€ per month. On Google Forms, you can do this for free — and it’s easy to do!
You Can Get Email Notification of Results
Some of the poll-making and survey-making tools available online will insist that you revisit their site in order to check on results. This is just not very user-friendly in my opinion. Google Forms will let you get notifications or responses to your forms either with each response or in a daily batch.
It’s a little tricky to set up; somewhat unintuitive. But once you’ve done it a few times you’ll never forget how. To do it, change your response method to be a spreadsheet by clicking on “Choose Response Method” in the toolbar. Then click on “View Responses” to see the spreadsheet. Choose Tools > Notification Rules and pick whether you’d like immediate or daily batch notifications.
Forms are Mobile-Friendly
Not all web pages are created equally. Some are best displayed on a desktop machine, and some require Java or Flash. Not all of the readily available free survey-making tools are great on a mobile browser. But Google Forms are. All Google Forms are able to be used with any simple browser on any device. The design is responsive and the checkboxes or other response tools are easy to use no matter which device you’re on.
This is a huge selling point, as you can use Google Forms to get responses where most of the participants would be using a mobile device, such as a conference or meeting.
Reasons Not To Use Google Forms
Okay, a misleading title. I have no good reasons NOT to use Google Forms. There are, however, some great reasons to use pro features of other survey tools if you are in the market for some of their other features. For instance, Survey Monkey will help you to find your target audience. So, if you’re doing a random survey and need people between 18-30 who like beer to apply, Survey Monkey will help you find those people. That’s a powerful tool that you won’t find Google offering.
However, for most regular Joes and Janes, we just don’t need these features. All we need is a cool way to make a survey, poll or some other variety of form. And for that, Google Forms are perfect.
Which survey-making tools have you tried. What would keep you using them over Google Forms? Why?