1: About an "Other (Specify)" Answer Option
An Other (specify) option can be used to give respondents the chance to write in a response not found on the answer list. Best practice for an Other (specify) answer option is to use it as a row for a single-dimensional question, as shown in the example below.
2: Program the Question
First, program the question as usual, including the "Other (specify)" row as shown in the single select example below.
3: Set Options
Once the question has been build, the "Other (specify)" row must be programmed in order to allow respondents to fill in their answers, as well as set limitations on their answer length, if desired.
3.1 Open End
To allow open end responses, select the "Other (specify)" row and use the Open End options, shown in the example below. By default, this option is set to "no", but can be adjusted using the dropdown.
Open End responses for the row can be set as either no, mandatory, or optional.
- Setting the Open End option to no not display an open end response box for the row.
- Setting the Open End option to mandatory will require respondents to type an open end response if the row is selected.
- Setting the Open End option to optional will allow respondents to select the row without typing an open end response.
In this example, the Open End option is set to mandatory, meaning respondents will receive an error message if they select the Other (specify) option and do not include an open end response, as shown below.
3.2 Character Limit
By default, a respondent can enter unlimited content in the input box for an "Other (specify)” answer option. However, validate code can be added to set a limit on the number of characters allowed, if desired.
To do this, display the desired question in survey builder and with no rows selected, and in the right options panel, expand "Raw Validate:" to enter the validate code block.
Then copy the validate code block shown below and paste it into the input box (with no blank characters at the beginning).
if len(q1.r5.open) gt 30: error("Customized error message.")
Then customize :
q1is the label of the desired question.
r5is the label of the "Other (specify)" row.
30is the maximum number of characters allowed in the input box. This number includes spaces.
Customized error messageis the message you want to display when the character limit is exceeded. Make sure the quotation marks are included.
Shown below is a customized and formatted validate code for the example in this article, limiting the response to 20 characters. Please note that, because the error is hard coded in Python, it will not be included in the translation file of a multi-language survey. Creating a translatable error messages requires the use of resource tags in the survey XML.
Learn More: Resource Tag: Create Translatable Resources
Respondents will now receive the error message if their response is greater than 20 characters, as shown below.