Modern Web Survey Software
What makes web survey software modern is primarily the appearance of the pages it creates. Modern web pages almost always use cascading style sheets (CSS) to enhance their appearance. One trend in recent years has been to use flat buttons, rather than the 3-D appearing buttons that had been standard on the Internet until recently. Your program should support them.
There are basically two kinds of buttons. One is the type that submits the current page or causes some other action, such as clearing the answers that already appear or going back to the previous page. The other type is the one people use to select answer choices. This latter type has two subtypes: radio buttons, that allow a single answer to a question and check boxes, that allow multiple answers to be selected for an individual question.
In all cases you should be able to determine the color of the buttons. In the case of submit/action buttons, you should be able to determine their width and whether they have rounded corners, and how around the corners should be. You should also be able to determine the size, typeface and color of the font used for the labels on those buttons. Another must-have feature is the ability to have a mouseover color – in other words the buttons should be able to change color when the mouse is over them. This ability provides good feedback to the user.
As for selection buttons, you should be able to determine colors for the interior of the buttons as well as a different color for their edges. You should be able to specify different colors for the selected and unselected states of these buttons. Your program should also let you specify a mouseover color for these buttons that also includes highlighting the answer choices associated with them. A mouseover color makes it easier for the people taking your survey to see which choice would be selected if they click where they are at the moment. A further desirable feature is the ability to make the highlight color change to a different one and remain in place if the choice is selected.
Another reason your web survey software must support CSS is that such support is needed to enable a Web page to adapt to different devices. This feature is usually called responsive design, although there are other names. This capability is what lets pages use different sized fonts on different devices. The most sophisticated software also lets you choose to have some questions presented as a grid or matrix on PCs and a series of multiple-choice questions on mobile devices.
He will discuss other aspects of modern design in a future blog.