Yet another polling service? Yet another poll app?

Posted by polltogo  |  November 29, 2013

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.

Simple idea: Using polltogo to take attendance in class

Posted by Ralph  |  June 4, 2013

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.

Beware of QR code scanability

Posted by Ralph  |  May 24, 2013

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).

Ensuring everyone can participate (Yes, polltogo works on older cellphones too)

Posted by Ralph  |  November 26, 2012

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.

Glowing university course evaluations

Posted by Ralph  |  June 20, 2012

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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