Desktop Versus Online Survey Tools
This blog post is about using desktop software compared with cloud software. The phrase “online survey tools” can refer to both survey software that is itself online or to desktop applications that can create online surveys. Here we mean the former.
Most current software is offered in the form of a cloud application. Cloud applications have two main advantages for the user. The primary advantage is that the user can use the application from multiple devices. The second advantage is that the user does not have to install anything on their own device, though this advantage is often reduced by an online registration process that takes as long as installing a desktop application might take. A third advantage is that the user never has to download updates.
Desktop applications also have advantages. The first is that they are more responsive to the user. Having to send input to a Web server for a cloud application to respond simply takes more time than it takes a desktop application to respond to input. Another advantage is that desktop applications have access to more local hardware than cloud applications. For example, a desktop application can use a modem to dial a telephone, but cloud applications cannot dial a standard telephone. A third advantage of desktop applications is that you can use them when you do not have a live Internet connection. A fourth advantage can be security. Some entities, for example healthcare providers, may be required to keep all their data in-house. In most cases you cannot do that when using a cloud application.
Some desktop applications, such as The Survey System, also have a major flexibility advantage over most, if not all online survey tools for advanced users. Our desktop software creates individual HTML pages for web questionnaires. This can be an advantage to users who have very particular ways they want their pages to look. When you have HTML file for each page, you can modify the HTML to produce any effect you would like before you have the program upload the pages. Cloud applications do not offer as much flexibility. Our software not only offers a great many choices on how your pages look and act, but it also gives you the option of using a Web page template to make your pages look exactly the way you want, including making the pages look like part of an existing site.