Ah, the venerable survey. It can be a fast, simple, cheap, and effective way gather the opinions of friends, family, classmates, co-workers, customers, readers, and others.
Millions turn to proprietary tools like SurveyGizmo, Polldaddy, SurveyMonkey, or even Google Forms to set up their surveys. But if you want more control, not just over the application but also the data you collect, then you'll want to go open source.
Let's take a look at four open source survey tools that can suit your needs, no matter how simple or complex those needs are.
LimeSurvey is where you turn to when you want a survey tool that can do just about everything you want it to do. You can use LimeSurvey for doing simple surveys and polls, and more complex ones that span multiple pages. If you work in more than one language, LimeSurvey supports 80 of them.
You can install LimeSurvey on your own server, or get a hosted plan that will set you back a few hundred euros a year (although there is a free option too).
If LimeSurvey doesn't pack enough features for you and Java-powered web applications are your thing, then give JD Esurvey a look. It's described as "an open source enterprise survey web application." It's definitely powerful, and ticks a number of boxes for organizations looking for a high-volume, robust survey tool.
Using JD Esurvey, you can collect a range of information including answers to "Yes/No" questions and star ratings for products and services. You can even process answers to questions with multiple parts. JD Esurvey supports creating and managing surveys with tablets and smartphones, and your published surveys are mobile friendly too. According to the developer, the application is usable by people with disabilities.
For many of us, tools like LimeSurvey and JD Esurvey are overkill. We just want a quick and dirty way to gather opinions or feedback. That's where Quick Survey comes in.
Quick Survey only lets you create question-and-answer or multiple choice list surveys. You add your questions or create your list, then publish it and share the URL. You can add as many items to your survey as you need to, and the responses appear on Quick Survey's admin page. You can download the results of your surveys as a CSV file, too.
In terms of features, TellForm lies somewhere between LimeSurvey and Quick Survey. It's one of those tools for people who need more than a minimal set of functions, but who don't need everything and the kitchen sink.
In addition to having 11 different types of surveys, TellForm has pretty good analytics attached to its surveys. You can easily customize the look and feel of your surveys, and the application's interface is simple and clean.
Do you have a favorite open source tool for doing online surveys? Feel free to share it with our community by leaving a comment.