Types of Online Survey Software
There are two basic types of software for online surveys. The most common type is currently software that runs online. The other is desktop software that creates online surveys. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Since online software (aka SaaS) is not installed on local PCs, it has the advantage that you can use it from any PC. Another advantage is that you do not have to upload your survey to a server, since it is created directly on the server. This feature can save a few minutes, although you will likely still have to upload some files, such as email lists . Online software also usually has a short term cost advantage. You pay for this type of software each month. While the monthly amounts can add up to a significant total cost, if you use the software for years, for at least a few months you will have spent less than you would have buying a desktop software license.
Desktop software for online surveys has a number of advantages. One is that it is more efficient to use. Desktop software responds to your input and choices you make more quickly than cloud software. While of the delay in using online software is usually small in each instance (if you have a good Internet connection), adding up all the little delays over the course of a project can mean significant time.
Another advantage of some desktop online survey software, such as The Survey System, is that it creates the web survey pages as files you can potentially edit. This feature lets advanced users customize their survey pages in ways that aren’t possible with cloud programs that create the survey pages on-the-fly as the survey runs.
While desktop software has a higher initial purchase price than the first few months of online software, it has a long-term cost advantage. You can buy a license once and use the software indefinitely.
Most cloud programs require surveys to be hosted on the provider’s server. While a few online software providers do offer hosting on researcher’ own servers, those who want to use the software that way typically have to pay substantially higher fees, which often meet or exceed the cost of desktop software. A majority of our clients host surveys on their own servers, though we do offer the alternative of using our server, for those who prefer we host their surveys.