polltogo, the blog http://blog.polltogo.com startup life, updates, about polls & live feedback, and more Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:16:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 PowerPoint polls with polltogo http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/11/powerpoint-polls-with-polltogo/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/11/powerpoint-polls-with-polltogo/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 05:05:04 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=618 A wise man once said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin is now the basis of a well-accepted educational methodology, referred to as “experiential learning.” But you don’t need to be a teacher to be interested in this concept; anyone who will ever have to make a presentation, give a talk, or deliver lecture should keep this in mind.

We’ve undoubtedly all had the experience at some point of being an audience member and, by one reason or another, completely disengaging from the speaker. While we can’t help you give better presentations (that being said, always be clear on the message that you want to deliver, select only the essential information to prevent information overload, and practice your delivery), a simple way to involve your audience with the subject of your talk is with a poll. Everyone loves to give their opinion, and a live audience vote invariably energizes the whole room. For those few moments, both during, and after when you discuss the poll results, you will have the full attention of all in attendance.

example presentation poll slideHow to achieve this? Our users already know — by creating a polltogo mobile-accessible poll. Each created poll is assigned a unique short web link and QR code than can be inserted in a presentation slide. To make things even simpler for our users, today we added the option to automatically generate a pre-filled PowerPoint slide after creating a poll. The slide looks like the one shown here and contains all the necessary information, including a live hyperlink that can be used to display the live poll results from the web.

polltogo poll sharing optionsMore specifically, sign-in on polltogo.com (creating a PowerPoint slide is not possible from our mobile app), then, after having created a poll, go to the sharing section of the page, where you’ll find the new PowerPoint option. Clicking the main link creates a PowerPoint slide with a standard 4×3 aspect ratio, but if you want a wider version choose the 16×9 link. After downloading the PPT file, feel free to modify/adjust the slide as you see fit! (We’d love to see some of your designs!) You can either build a presentation around this poll slide, or insert it into an existing slide deck.

The next time that you’re planning to give a talk or have to make a presentation, think “outside the slide” and try creating a polltogo to engage your audience.

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Polling the public using a T-shirt http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/11/polling-the-public-using-a-t-shirt/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/11/polling-the-public-using-a-t-shirt/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 03:47:00 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=602 polltogo T-shirtAfter spending some time improving the way we interface with Zazzle to allow our users to automatically generate shirts with their poll’s details, it dawned on us that this was an aspect of polltogo that we hadn’t well publicized. It’s certainly worth talking about!

You may think that creating a T-shirt with a polltogo poll sounds like a bit of gimmicky fun, but it has some potentially interesting “pro” uses. When you have a limited marketing budget (e.g., for flyers/signs) and your target audience is around you on the street (or at an event/conference), wearing your poll is a creative hack to incite more participation in your poll. And of course, because you smartly created the poll with polltogo, voting will be friction-free for your potential participants since the poll is accessible using any mobile device, with no special app required.

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Our experience with the leveraging effect of publishing an iPhone app http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/07/effect-of-publishing-an-iphone-app/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/07/effect-of-publishing-an-iphone-app/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:12:36 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=571 One of the nice things about young (i.e. pre-money or bootstrapped) startup culture is the spirit of sharing that permeates at conferences, in blogs, at networking events, or simply during impromptu coffee chats between people who have a passion for doing stuff. Naturally when there’s proprietary IP involved, cards are usually kept close to one’s chest, but generally we’ve found that web entrepreneurs are quite open at sharing best practices and ideas, including various “growth hacking” strategies.

In that spirit, we’d like to share a simple growth hack that’s worked for us: Develop and release an iPhone app. OK, perhaps it’s not so “simple” if you have never developed an iOS app, but in that case get help from a friend, a new associate, or a subcontractor who’s competent in Objective-C development — or, learn how to use one of the platforms, like PhoneGap, that lets you develop an iPhone app using web technologies. It’s seriously worth the effort.

Here’s what happened to our user base and platform usage after publishing the polltogo app in the App Store; the red line indicates the date our iPhone app first went public: [N.B. Both graphs have been normalized to keep the absolute numbers private.]

The leverage effect of an iPhone App release

We were surprised at the dramatic impact of just this one action. Though it’s not scientific, it’s pretty close to a single factor effect, as we quietly released the app, with no big marketing campaign in parallel — it’s not as if we could afford it anyhow! The rate at which new people discovered and signed-up to use our service increased markedly, but overall usage, the number of polls created on our platform, was also greatly amplified. Today, almost a year after that first release of the iPhone app, we can still see the after-effects; rather than a blip, it appears to be a sustainable effect as we haven’t otherwise changed the manner in which we communicate about polltogo. (For an example of a blip, you can see the short-lived uptick in new user registrations in 2014-01 which corresponds to when we pushed out an update to our app, and finally, publicly communicated about it on the web, including here our blog.)

Though there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the same boost we did, nor if it will be sustainable, but if you are operating a web-based service and are looking to get the word out, consider developing and publishing an iPhone app!

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Tip: Provide open WiFi at your business site for your customers http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/05/wifi-in-store/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/05/wifi-in-store/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 17:43:11 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=587 If you manage a store or restaurant, make sure that your customers can access the information they need, but also provide you with some data as well.

We don’t need to tell you that the use of smartphones by consumers on-the-go is growing, but have you actually tried accessing the mobile internet from your retail location? If your business site is in a mall, or underground, there’s a very good chance that your customers will be frustrated every time they open their smartphone to do anything but a simple telephone call.

If you plan on using polltogo to collect feedback from walk-in traffic, you need to facilitate the mobile experience as much as possible. Instead of relying on variable 3G/4G cellular data connections, providing open WiFi internet access as an added alternative will ensure that customers can post to their social media accounts (hopefully about your products & services!) and scan QR codes, such as those of your polltogo poll, to their heart’s content.

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Our new iPhone app http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/01/our-new-iphone-app/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2014/01/our-new-iphone-app/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 13:40:12 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=495 This comes as no surprise to our existing users, nor those of you who have been following our startup, but we released a new polltogo iPhone app! It was actually first released quietly a few months ago, letting the polltogo user community help us iron out the kinks (you guys are great!) — but now we’re ready to tell the world. Go forth and download away! (It works great on iPads too.)

Download the polltogo iPhone app


The polltogo iPhone app

We created the polltogo iPhone app to help you better manage and monitor your polls on the go. Though it is by no means necessary to be able to participate, you could suggest it to your target audience as well (better if done in advance, so that people can download the app ahead of time using WiFi) so that they can use the “Participate” interface to more easily type in poll codes (just the ending part of a poll link, not the full URL), use the built-in QR code scanner, or find open “findable” polls on a map.

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Yet another polling service? Yet another poll app? http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/11/not-just-another-polling-service/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/11/not-just-another-polling-service/#comments Fri, 29 Nov 2013 14:32:35 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=456 The answer is of course no!

When meeting people who haven’t yet heard about polltogo, we often get asked something along the lines of “Why another poll system?” If you’ve used polltogo already, you probably already have a good idea of what makes it a unique system, but for the others, let’s get into it…

First, what polltogo is not: SurveyMonkey. We aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel and create another service for web-based surveys and long-form market research. There are already some very good services for that.

What polltogo is about:

  • Live feedback in real-world situations
    At the root of it, the goal of polltogo is to facilitate the task of getting feedback from a group of real people when they would typically be offline; situations where they would not be sitting in front of a computer screen. For example, an audience at a conference presentation or performance, students in a university lecture hall, people reading the newspaper on the bus, or shoppers browsing in a store — polltogo is ideally suited for these settings.
  • Accessibility on all devices
    To make sure that the maximum number of people can vote or participate in your polls (and other forms of feedback interactions such as submitting comments, pop quiz, ratings, etc.) our obsession is to prioritize accessibility. It may seem obvious, but if people are out and about, not expecting to participate in a poll, they are not very likely to want to fiddle with their smartphone to download an app. And what about those without the latest iPhone or Android phone? It always surprises us when certain iOS apps bill themselves as “the” solution for mobile polls — what about the ~85% of people (depending on the country) without an iPhone? With polltogo you can be sure that your polls will be accessible on practically any device, even older non-smartphones using WAP web browsers.
  • Geolocation targetting
    One of the details inherent in mobile polling is location. Location matters. In some cases it’s an interesting piece of data to analyze later (for example, to see where your customers were located when they scanned the polltogo QR code on your product’s label to participate in a contest-poll). In other cases geolocation can be crucial, such as to limit participation in a poll to those in a specific area. With polltogo you can create mobile-accessible polls that are “findable” by people near a specific location, but also limit submissions to those physically present within a set distance from that location.
  • Pay nothing or pay-as-you-go
    An important differentiator between polltogo and other alternative solutions is our business model. Our philosophy on this topic is quite simple: No ads and no commitments. As we decided not to include advertisements, nor to sell user data, usage of polltogo to target audiences larger than 20 people is not free. However, instead of opting for a subscription model, we decided it was more transparent to sell “packs” of vote credits that you can allocate, as you see fit, to any of your current or future polltogo polls. So far all money collected has been reinvested in the business; our goal is to create a sustainable service that you can count on into the foreseeable future.

    [UPDATE 2014.12] Because of strong interest by academic institutions and large business units, we are now offering “unlimited” usage subscriptions. Sound interesting? Drop us a note and tell us what you need.

We could go on, but these should already give you an idea of how polltogo is different. Sign-up for an account and give our system a whirl by creating some polls — hopefully you’ll stick around and join our growing community of users worldwide.

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Simple idea: Using polltogo to take attendance in class http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/06/use-polltogo-to-take-attendance/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/06/use-polltogo-to-take-attendance/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:03:46 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=251 A mobile-friendly polltogo poll to take attendanceHere’s a great, super simple idea from one of our users in the UK: Use polltogo to keep a record of attendance. This is particularly useful in education settings where a student’s presence in a lecture or tutorial session is tied to some form of attendance credit. All you need to do is:

1. Create a polltogo — a poll or quiz on a real topic, or simply something like “Do you want today’s attendance credit?” — and make sure the option to request voter contact details is selected.

2. To simplify your analysis later, instruct your students to enter a form of identification that you have for them (in your class roll or student list) in the “address” field, such as their university-assigned email address or student ID number.

3. At some point later on, log in to your polltogo account to view the results for this poll and click to download its raw data file. This CSV file is a simple spreadsheet format that can be opened by any software package, such as Excel.

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Beware of QR code scanability http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/05/qr-code-scanability/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2013/05/qr-code-scanability/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 16:00:00 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=240 QR code scan success study resultsArtistic, colourful, customized QR codes: You have probably seen them, mostly in advertisements and posters. Though they may look more appealing to the eye (for some people), after checking out the results of this ongoing study by the Automatic Identification and Data Capture Lab at Ohio University, you’ll quickly realize that custom QR codes are something that should be avoided. The last thing you want to do is reduce the potential reach of an information campaign or a call to action (like a polltogo feedback poll); accessibility on as many devices as possible is key. The moral of the story: Keep it simple, use plain QR codes, in black and white, pointing to short URLs (to keep the “grain” of the QR code large).

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Ensuring everyone can participate (Yes, polltogo works on older cellphones too) http://blog.polltogo.com/2012/11/universal-participation/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2012/11/universal-participation/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 04:53:57 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=221 polltogo polls are accessible on feature phones with WAP browsers

Voting on a polltogo poll using an older Nokia feature phone with a WAP browser

Backwards compatibility. It’s not exactly the sexiest topic, but it’s still important. Very important, in fact, if you care about maximizing participation in your mobile polls. Smartphones may be taking over in North America, Europe and a few parts in Asia, but did you know that, on aggregate, worldwide sales of “feature phones” still account for the large majority of mobile phones? Even in the U.S., though sales of smartphones now dominate, their penetration only just reached 50-50 parity with feature phones earlier this year. [source: Nielson data]

So what does this mean? For any given audience, you are going to have a non-negligible amount of people without a smartphone. If you want to engage that audience with a mobile poll — for example, at a live event in an auditorium, or outdoors with a sign asking a question to passersby — you need to consider how to allow those with an older device to participate as well.

A poll using one of the many iPhone/Android poll apps available in the app stores today is not going to cut it. (In fact, even individuals with smartphones probably won’t be able to participate: Do you expect them to download an app, on the spot, using several megabytes of their data plan, just to then participate in your little poll?) One of the websites offering online polls? Yes, the poll will probably display OK on smartphones and tablets, but what about those with the feature phones? Facebook polls? Outside of tablets, they don’t work on any mobile device…

The solution is, of course, polltogo. (Would I be posting this otherwise?) From the start, we’ve tried our best to ensure that polls our users create work on all mobile devices, even older feature phones with a WAP browser.

Though universal device compatibility has been at the heart of polltogo since we launched last year, I was reminded of its importance last week with two polltogo polls initiated in Africa that came to my attention (feature phones account for 82% of mobiles in Africa & the Middle East). One in Cairo, Egypt, publicized by a citizen media organization, to gauge public reaction to recent political events; the other in Ghana, a small poll to assess voting intentions in their upcoming presidential election.

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Glowing university course evaluations http://blog.polltogo.com/2012/06/university-course-evaluation/ http://blog.polltogo.com/2012/06/university-course-evaluation/#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2012 22:55:24 +0000 http://blog.polltogo.com/?p=198 As we already mentioned in our blog some months ago, many of our earliest users have been college/university educators in the US & Canada. The most common environments where polltogo has been used (based on the teachers that reached out to us) are large auditoriums and medium-sized university lecture halls.

Now that summer has arrived again, I went back to ask for feedback. One professor who had a class of 150 first-year students was kind enough to send me an anonymized transcription of the student feedback he received as part of his overall course evaluation. I can’t think of a better way to get the verdict on polltogo in the classroom than from students themselves! Given the comments I saw, this professor is already quite good at what he does, but there’s no doubt that the students loved the live interactivity polltogo provided to the lectures. In fact, the only “negative” feedback related to polltogo that I found was from a student who felt that in-class live polls should be somehow mandatory and for credit or bonus marks. (Interesting idea…)

My own suggestion: Why wait for the end of the year for formal course evaluations? Why not perform ad-hoc course evaluations throughout the term using polltogo? Perhaps a small multiple choice poll (or a rating poll) to see if students are OK with the pace of the material, and don’t forget to include an anonymous “comments” box for freeform feedback!

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