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How to turn a mobile device into a mighty survey assistant

Posted by Resco Articles | Mobile & Embedded July 29, 2009
Marketing research and perfect customers’ knowledge are key factors for successful business. One of the best ways how to get to know your customers and their preferences is running surveys. Usually, the surveys are run by mobile workers using paper based forms. It might sound archaic, yet there are companies that use this manual approach. However, this outdated process can be easily replaced using mobile devices allowing data processing automation.
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Smartphone disposes of infinite business functions - squeeze the max out of it.

Marketing research and perfect customers' knowledge are key factors for successful business. One of the best ways how to get to know your customers and their preferences is running surveys. Usually, the surveys are run by mobile workers using paper based forms. It might sound archaic, yet there are companies that use this manual approach. However, this outdated process can be easily replaced using mobile devices allowing data processing automation.
The general idea behind automated survey solution is simple.

There are three keystones:

  • SurveyDesigner -application allowing designing surveys
  • MobileClient - mobile application allowing filling-in created surveys
  • Synchronization - service taking care of survey/data synchronization

MobileSurvey_graph.png

It is quite native to build the SurveyDesigner as a desktop/server solution because there is no need to design surveys on the go and the desktop environment is more powerful for such complicated task. From the user perspective, the ASP .NET seems to be quite convenient in this case so the application can be run in web browser. Designing a survey can be done by creating a collection of questions, defining the answer type (e.g. ComboBox, or CheckBox) and possible values. Survey defined like this can be then saved as an XML file.

scr_MobileSurvey.png

XML surveys can be easily downloaded to the mobile devices through a Web service.

Then the MobileClient is run which allows user to fill-in all survey questions. It is necessary to provide intuitive and easy-to-use mobile UI, so it is possible to answer questions just by a finger instead of using the stylus. Moreover, because of mobile device's small display, a survey should be divided into several pages with easy page navigation. All the answers can be also saved into another XML file.


scr_MobileSurvey_web.png

Then the web service is used again to synchronize all the answers back to the server.

Finally the survey results can be viewed in the SurveyDesigner application, or transferred to a back-end system for further processing.

The realization of such solution is complicated since all solution components work in different environments and use different technologies (ASP. NET, Web Services, .NET Compact Framework).

That is why Resco comes up with a solution called Resco MobileSurvey ESP which solves all the described modules (SurveyDesigner, MobileClient and Synchronization) and all modules are provided with well documented C# Source Code. So it is very easy to customize the solution in Microsoft Visual Studio, rebrand it and have it ready for commercial use in a very short time. Moreover, all the mobile components of the solution are powered by Resco MobileForms Toolkit - the richest and most complete suite of components for mobile application development. Thus, the MobileClient fulfills all standards of modern mobile applications.

The MobileSurvey ESP is provided also with the online demo which serves as an easy evaluation in the Internet Explorer. It allows to:
  • design surveys,
  • download the MobileClient app which can be run on Windows Mobile devices and where the surveys can be filled-in,
  • synchronize surveys as well as data between client/server,
  • view survey results online in the SurveyDesigner web application.

About Resco MobileSurvey ESP


Resco MobileSurvey ESP is the enterprise solution prototype especially designed for survey creation, data collection; and their evaluation in a web browser. The finger touch control, attractive UI, ASP.NET technology, optimized for Windows Mobile devices 5.0 and above, thoroughly commented C# Source Code, simple customization, and reliable client server synchronization - to mention the most significant features.

For more information about Resco MobileSurvey ESP, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/mobilesurvey/overview.aspx.

The demo version is ready for download here http://www.resco.net/developer/mobilesurvey/demo.aspx.

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