Survey123 Feature Request: Persistent Answers.

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11-07-2016 11:03 AM
JonathanPendleton
New Contributor III

When working with larger, more complex surveys. I find that there is often a real need to see what you had previously entered for a specific question. The "Set answers as favorite" option attempts to address this but falls short in a two main areas. First, the favorite answers option saves/pastes 100% of the answers from your favorited survey. This is not ideal with large surveys with many questions, because it can be difficult to remember which answers need to change and which need to stay the same. Second, every time you want the favorite answers to change you need to reset them and save them again. So in order to bring answers from survey to survey dynamically, you have to reset them, save them, and paste them every time. This eats up a lot of time, is cumbersome, and is just one more thing to think about when in the field surveying.

So what's the solution? I think the solution is persistent answers. By persistent answers, I mean the ability to either in the .XLS survey form, or in the survey123 app it's self, flag specific questions in order to make their answers persist to the very next survey. For example, if my survey has a question named "question #1" I want to be able to flag that question so every time a new survey gets opened, the form or app looks at the previous data that has already been collected for that question, and returns the most recent answer for question #1 automatically. So if I decide to leave the question with an answer of "123", it would automatically fill out the corresponding question on the next survey with the same answer of "123". But if I decide to change the answer from "123" to "ABC" it would see that "ABC" was the most recent answer and return that answer for question #1 when the next survey is opened. This would address both problems I have with the "Set answers as favorite" option.

I think this feature would be very useful and could potentially save quite a bit of time. I would love to see it implemented. From a programming standpoint (given my limited knowledge of programming) it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to implement either. It would be a nice quality of life improvement for those of use who work with larger survey forms.

Let me know your thoughts! Also, I tried to explain it as clearly as possible but if anyone needs further clarification let me know and I will do my best to further explain.

Tags (1)
12 Replies
PeterTimmers
Occasional Contributor III

I agree too.   We're asking our users to enter the street address, and as they progress down the street it would be good to remember the street name from the last entry.  

HamidYunus
New Contributor III

Great idea.. similar to the cookies concept for browsers to expedite surveys completion.

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PeterTimmers
Occasional Contributor III

I notice persistent answers exist in the web version of Survey123.

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DougBrowning
MVP Frequent Contributor

What we do is open the last (or any) survey from the sent folder, change what we want then send.  It counts as a brand new survey.

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JonathanPendleton
New Contributor III

This doesn't help my problem really. The problem with that solution is, when you open up the old survey to author a new one from it, you can very easily forget to change obscure data points when your working with large surveys sense all data points are filled in already. You can easily forget which ones need to be changed or miss one by mistake. For example, our XLS form for our survey is about 460 rows long. It's massive. It takes 35 seconds just to open it up in Survey123 Connect. With a survey that big you can easily forget a question buried somewhere. This is why I need it only to bring up the most recent entries for specific questions that a difficult to answer without knowing what was entered previously.

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RalphBradt1
New Contributor II

I had the same problem with all the answers being saved rather just than the few I wanted. I found the suggestion to start a survey, populate it with only the answers I want to repeat, set as favorite answers, then save the survey as a draft, to be a bit awkward, but it worked. The problem that remained is that because the geopoint is automatically collected, it is also saved as a favorite answer. It's overwritten in a new survey, but if there is no satellite fix during the new survey, the favorite geopoint is assigned to the new survey. Unless you have that favorite geopoint written down or memorized to compare with the new survey, you can't tell if a new point has been collected.

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JonathanPendleton
New Contributor III

It's been about six months sense I posted this. Does anyone know if there is a solution like this yet? I really need it. A few of your questions are long numbers and it would be so helpful to see what we entered in the previous survey (only on specific questions).

by Anonymous User
Not applicable

 Jonathan is there anyway for you to create a custom URL within a note field that will pass the answers of questions from the previous survey into the new survey?  We have accomplished this but it can be difficult to make sure you have the URL structured correctly and the only way that I have found to do this is through the concatenate command.

 Essentially, I added a note field that will be used as a hyperlink open up the second survey 123 form and pass values of questions from the first form into questions on the second form.  However I'm on sure how many values you need to pass we are currently passing 10 values between two different forms. You will also need to use the ESRI custom column  to declare it as a string field. Also, to ensure the newly concatenated URL string is stored correctly within the note field, you need to make the field extremely large. In our case I made the string field 800 characters.

mike

JonathanPendleton
New Contributor III

Mike thanks for the reply! Is there anywhere I could read more about this process? How does workflow go when this is achieved. Does it always carry over answers from the most recent survey or just from a specific survey? When you open up a new survey do you just click the hyperlink and the right answers from the previous survey fill in? With the string field being so large, did it add a significant amount of load time to the survey?

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