Although Opinionmeter is a one-stop survey shop – supporting a wide range of survey technologies (mobile research, online surveys, onsite surveys – intercept and survey kiosk, paper, etc.), one of the areas where we have unique expertise is with the self-administered, stand-alone survey kiosk. In fact, my father, Bob Strickland patented the first survey kiosk back in the 70’s!
When it comes to touch screen systems, Elo Touch Systems has been our vendor of choice for survey kiosks. There are several excellent all-in-one computer vendors such as IBM and Planar, but given Elo invented touch screen technology and has the widest range of screen technologies (resistive, capacitive, infrared, acoustic touch, intellitouch), we went with them as our preferred vendor. We have been very pleased with Elo and continue to use their hardware, but we are beginning to receive more requests for the flexibility only a tablet computer can provide. Let me explain… when using a tablet within a kiosk enclosure you’re getting two systems in one: stand-alone and mobile. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts: “At any time, we can unlock and remove the iPad from its iPad Kiosk enclosure (where it’s running off AC and in lock-down mode), and continue using the same device as a mobile intercept research tool.” It’s not that simple however, there are several considerations when using a tablet computer as a survey kiosk (or any type of kiosk for that matter). The following are a few of the categories to consider:
Connectivity: Wi-Fi comes standard in tablets and some have Cellular options (e.g. iPad), but it’s not always possible to connect tablets via Ethernet. Be sure your installation doesn’t require Ethernet cabling before deciding on a tablet PC for your kiosk solution.
- Screen Size – tablet computer screen dimensions are normally in the range of 8-10”, whereas touch computers come in a variety of sizes: 10, 15, 17, 19” and larger.
- Durability – This is the area I would pay most attention to. We prefer Elo’s intellitouch screen technology; given it has a thick layer of glass as well as high touch sensitivity. This screen technology is similar to the rugged touch screens you find in many ATM machines. The iPad uses a Multi-Touch display with IPS technology. This screen will be more likely to shatter and scratch, so depending on the environment, you may want to consider using one of the protective covers available for the iPad (e.g. www.zagg.com/invisibleSHIELD)
- Outdoor use – if your survey kiosk will be placed outdoors, you need to plan for moisture and consider issues related to reflection. You’ll want to be sure the screen you chose is sealed and the contrast can be adjusted to reduce reflection from sunlight.
Recommended Device Configuration for the iPad Survey Kiosk: when using the iPad as your tablet of choice within your survey kiosk enclosure, we recommend securing your iOS device with the following device configurations. Each of these settings can be found in the Settings > General tab in the iOS device.
- Turning off Multitasking Gestures
- Turn Passcode On
- Turn off Auto Correction – unless your survey app does this for you. Opinionmeter’s TouchPoint Mobile app handles this within the app.
- Multilingual keyboard – If your survey contains more than one language, make sure the iOS build supports the localization you plan to use within your survey instrument.
- Use a locally installed Survey App, not a Browser-based solution – we do not recommend attempting to run a browser based survey solution on survey devices (e.g. online survey or web survey software). There are many advantages to running a locally installed survey app when it comes to using any type of device for capturing customer feedback, especially survey kiosk. A few of the most important are:
Offline data capture – with a locally installed survey app, if your Internet connectivity goes down, your survey doesn’t! Whereas if you are running online survey software on a device, when you lose your Internet connection, you lose your app!
- User Interface – Online survey software’s user-interface is designed for a mouse not a finger!
- Security – A locally installed app can lock down the device and prevent respondent access to other areas of the system
- Feature/Functionality – Only the survey app that is designed for the device’s operating system, can utilize the native API’s to provide rich feature/functionality. For example, the TouchPoint Mobile survey app can control the microphone for capturing verbatim comments or the camera for images or video. This type of functionality cannot be provided using browser-based survey solutions.
I hope the above will assist you in your next onsite research project!