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FocusVision Knowledge Base

Question Types

The Kinesis Survey Editor offers a robust library of question types – from basic single and multiple response to fully interactive sliding scales and card sorts, all available via our intuitive interface. Here are the question types currently available. Click the question type for detailed information:

  • Radio Questions: Single response question.
  • Checkbox Questions: Multiple choice question.
  • Pulldown: Single response question displayed via a pulldown menu.
  • Text Questions: A single text input, commonly used to collect demographic data, contact information, and smaller open ends.
  • Textareas: A configurable text input for open ended questions.
  • Number Questions: A text input to collect only numeric values. Configurable formatting, range, and required decimal places.
  • Phone Number: A text input formatted specifically for phone number entry.
  • Computational Fields: Used for making hidden and stored calculations behind the scenes. Can be used to compute least-filled quotas, calculate sums, means, or other information from previously stored questions.
  • Extra Text Displays: A display for inserting instructions or other verbiage and media. Does not collect data.
  • Date Inputs: A open end date field(s) with configurable settings and pop-up calendar.
  • Card Sort: A multi-bucket drag and drop question type.
  • Ranking Questions: A single-bucket drag and drop question type.
  • File Uploads: Allows respondents to send in media of any type to add a qualitative component.
  • Sliders: A single- or dual- sliding scale.
  • Captchas: Captcha image/audio file and text input, used to identify that respondent is not a bot. Requires a randomly generated text phrase from an image or audio clip be entered.
  • Template Questions: Insert a templated question into your survey. See the Template Manager entry for details.

When formatting multiple questions on one screen, we encourage the use of our Matrix Table or Form Creator, which allows you to quickly and easily design HTML tables around your questions. For heavily customized questions like our Text Highlighter and Embedded Media Files examples, you must use HTML Ranges, which allow full control of your survey page layout and syntax. See those articles for detailed information.

1:  Radio Questions


Radio questions are single response questions and one of the most common question types found in web surveys. The term radio references radio button, the small, circular input used by the web browser which allows the user to choose only one of a predefined set of options.

Please refer to the Survey in-line help for detailed explanations on the individual Choice Editor parameters.

Headers can be added as shown in the following image.

Headers are non-response items (basically categorizing option lists). Headers may be randomized or rotated separately from survey options, and options below them will be randomized or rotated within that particular category. To create a header, click on the header box, and a box will insert above that item in which to insert a header. Select the desired Header Randomization mode at the bottom of the screen if randomization or rotation of header categories is desired.

There are also several advanced properties that can be programmed in radio and other question types, which may be accessed by selecting the Advanced Properties tab. These include:

  • Prepopulation of a response, either via URL parameters or CSV file upload;
  • Populating with a default answer (such as the most likely answer) that is based upon a value or a condition;
  • Input element extra tags which may be used to inject javascript functions into the input elements;
  • Advanced conditional branching;
  • Displaying the answer to the respondent for potential modification, or hiding it from view;

See the Prepopulate Data article for more information on how to generate data responses into questions.

Finally, the "Surrounding HTML" tab allows inserting html around the ~QTEXT~ (question text) and ~QUESTION~ (response list) placeholders (bear in mind this feature only applies to desktop surveys):

2:  Checkbox Questions


The checkbox question type has the following unique customization features, in addition to those already discussed in the radio section.

  • There is a column within the survey editing screen marked ‘Exc.’ This column should be used to mark any responses that should be selected exclusively of others on the list (typically used for ‘None of the above’). The software will also insert javascript to ensure that if the item is checked, any other items on the list are unchecked, and vice versa.
  • The Checkbox Question type also includes Min and Max select boxes. This allows you to program a minimum and maximum number of answer choices that the respondent may select, as in the following question example, where the system will automatically program the needed validation.
Which of the following are your favorite deli meats? You may select up to three.
  • Checkbox Questions also allow advanced properties including prepopulation, default answer conditions, and insertion of javascript, and access to the GUI for these items is on the Advanced Properties tab. Prepopulation and default answers are discussed in the Prepopulate Data section.

3:  Pulldown Questions


Pulldown questions allow fewer customizable programming options than radio or checkbox questions. Other than the standard customizations discussed previously, they also allow prepopulation and default answer conditions, which may be accessed from the Advanced Properties tab, and which are discussed in Prepopulate Data

4:  Text and Textarea Questions



Text questions are used to create single line text boxes (such as in contact information forms). In general, textarea questions should be used for the creation of open ended questions. The size of the box can be configured, and there is no inherent character limitation with this question type unless one is programmed. If a character limitation is entered, exports will pad the responses with unused spaces to fill to the maximum, so that any exports to fixed field ASCII files will allow a stable data map. Note that some third-party export tools may have inherent character limitations. You can select to validate a text question as email. If "email" is chosen the validation will check that the email address is syntactically valid and that there are no duplicate email addresses in the respondent manager; the entered email address will also be inserted in the respondent manager record (and replace any pre-existing value). You can also specify if you would like to treat the text entered as a password. If this setting is set to "yes", the entry into the input field will be masked. The mask is browser based but typically shown as dots or asterisks, to protect sensitive information from onlookers. Finally, you can choose to hide the question text for the question.

Advanced Properties, including prepopulation, default answer values, and insertion of javascript, are also possible and may be accessed via the Advanced Properties tab. These items are discussed further in Prepopulate Data.

Display Remaining Characters

For Textarea questions, we now provide the ability to show how many characters are still available for input when a respondent is filling in a text field. This is enabled by default, however can be disabled within the questions basic properties.

5:  Number Questions


Number questions offer the following automated customizations:

  • Entry can be required in either standard U.S., international, or French versions.
  • The system can automatically insert commas as thousand separators if desired (recommended when large-digit input is required).
  • Minimum and maximum values can be programmed by simply typing the smallest and largest acceptable responses. Note that in most instances, a minimum value of 0 is desired (otherwise respondents can enter negative numbers).
  • Determine, based upon the maximum value (if one is used), the highest number of digits possible (number of wholes).
  • Also program for decimals points if desired (it is better to leave decimal points out if not required, and as a best practice to stipulate in instructions to the respondent the desired format).
  • The Force Format option allows you to force the respondent to enter a precise format for the number questions without programming validation. This means that the required number of decimals has to be entered exactly as formatted. Forcing applies to decimal and thousand separators, number length, and number of decimals.
  • Prefixes generally consist of dollar signs or other currency indicators, and postfixes generally consist of explanations as to what the number represents, as in: $_____ Average weekly grocery spending. It is not necessary to use either one.

Note that additional customizations for number questions are available when creating table structures based upon number questions (covered in a subsequent section on Tables). These include the ability to display the sum of a row of numbers, as well as the remaining (unused) values, or both. In addition, Advanced Properties, including prepopulation, default answer values, and insertion of javascript, are also possible and may be accessed via the Advanced Properties tab. These items are discussed further in Prepopulate Data.

When programmed open-ended numbers, it is possible to program a subsequent hidden radio question that codes the number into categories so that it will also be available for cross-tabulated data. See Prepopulate Data for programming these.

6:  Phone Number Questions


The Phonenumber question type allows creation of a question that requires the respondent to enter the U.S. format for phone numbers. If another format is required, an open end text field or the number question itself (or a series of number questions tied together in a single-row table structure) should be used. Advanced Properties, including prepopulation, default answer values, and insertion of javascript, are also possible and may be accessed via the Advanced Properties tab. These items are discussed further in Prepopulate Data.

7:  Computational Fields

If you do not know how to accomplish a given task, the computational field may well be your answer. Computations are used for such items as:

  • Programming least-filled quotas
  • Creating segmentations based upon previously stored answers
  • Time the length it takes to answer a specific question or range of questions
  • Generate random numbers for use elsewhere in the survey

There are many additional logic functions that can be performed using computationals. They are always hidden from respondent view, and returned values can be used for returning piped values (for instance, you might want to pipe the word ‘Japanese’ if someone answered in a previous question that they were from Japan) and for use in conditional logic.

Computationals must utilize a specific logic format which may be accessed in further detail under the specific context help file for computational as well as under the general Help file at the top of the browser.

8:  Extra Text

The extratext field consists solely of an HTML editor. The reader may reference the previous section on the HTML editor for further information. No respondent data is collected here; it is used for display of information to the respondent only. Use this question type for inserting media, such as video displays, instructions to respondents, and similar information.

9:  Date Questions


The Date question provides the respondent with a calendar popup for a simple click-to-select date range.

Customization for the Date question type include:

  • Requiring the respondent to answer in a pre-assigned date format. This format is automatically followed when the respondent selects a date via the calendar popup.
  • Limiting the range of responses to specific years, months and/or days. The software does standard date validation to disallow for non-existent dates, such as Feb 31st.
  • Advanced Properties, including prepopulation, default answer values, and insertion of javascript, are also possible and may be accessed via the Advanced Properties tab. These items are discussed further in Prepopulate Data.

10:  Card Sort Questions

Card Sort questions are used to place a deck of cards (choices) into various categories (buckets). Due to screen real estate limitations, Card Sort is currently a desktop/laptop ONLY question type - it cannot be used with mobile surveys.

The listing of cards can have its own custom heading. This heading is displayed above the cards that are available to be sorted into categories. Card Sort has configuration options similar to other question types like Radio and Checkbox questions, including support for images, other specify, randomization and conditional cards within the deck.

Card Sort data can be exported via the Raw Data Exporter or using the advanced Card Sort Analysis reporting tool, but is NOT available via traditional data tools such as Topline Reports or Charts & Statistics.

Though some limited formatting options are available within the question configuration, users with CSS knowledge can fully customize the Card Sort formatting to better match their branding and/or color scheme. See your default theme and search for CARD SORT STYLES for a list of classes and properties that can be customized.

11:  Ranking Questions


Ranking questions provide a drag and drop question type for the respondent. It should be noted that there are multiple ways to program a ranking question (other ways include a number table in which the respondent enters their first choice with a 1, second choice with a 2, etc.; a table consisting of pulldowns for ‘First choice,’ ‘Second choice,’ etc.; or in a checkbox table that is similarly organized). The advantage of the ranking question type is (1) respondents cannot enter inconsistent information even though validation does not need to be programmed; and (2) the drag and drop is a fairly unique question type that respondents do not frequently encounter, and is potentially more “engaging” to them.

The Ranking Question allows the following customizations:

  • The ranking being assigned can be displayed (or not) to the respondent as it is dragged from the left-hand column to the right-hand column
  • Scores (weights) can be assigned if desired. Since respondents normally rank a “1” as their first choice, some reporting tools may be thrown off as lower values would not generally denote higher preference unless weights are used. Default weightings are included.
  • Randomizations with anchoring can also be performed.
  • The respondent can be forced to rank a minimum and/or a maximum number of items if desired.

Advanced Properties, including prepopulation and default answer values are also possible and may be accessed via the Advanced Properties tab. These items are discussed further in Prepopulate Data.

12:  File Upload

The File Uploader allows the survey designer to include a qualitative component to surveys by enabling respondents to send in media that are associated with their survey responses. Media will be available viewing in the Drill Down reporting tool.

Any type of media can be sent in – Excel spreadsheets, digital images, sound recordings, and videos. This feature should be used with caution. Please remember that Kinesis does not provide viewers for media that are sent by respondents – it is assumed that the survey programmer has the appropriate software to view such media. No conversions are made within the Kinesis software. Hence, it is best to limit the format of the media to those which can be viewed by most companies.

The file size limit for upload is 20MB.

It may be helpful for the programmer to create an example File Upload survey using the defaults prior to programming.

The instructional text to respondents can be customized, as well as the types of allowable file extensions. The max number of files a respondent is allowed to upload can also be configured.

The following would be the respondent-facing view in desktop mode:

As of v5.8 the File upload question type is supported on Mobile devices; the following would be the respondent-facing view in mobile mode:

From a respondent-facing perspective, they will first click on the ‘Select files’ button, select one or more files that they wish to upload, and then click on the ‘Start upload’ button. The process for a respondent is just like attaching a file to an email, so additional instructions are probably not necessary. The respondent will be shown a progress bar throughout uploading so that they know how long the upload will take. There is no ability to prepopulate or create default answer conditions for this question type.

Modifications to the Upload text labels is controlled through the Web settings tab in the Survey Properties. The field labels are the english values for the fields. These fields can be translated by selecting a new default language and then editing these fields.

13:  Slider Questions


Sliders are rating questions presented as a graphic sliding scale. Respondents click or touch the slider 'handle' and move it to assign a numeric value. The following formats are available:

  • Single: One handle, can be dragged from the minimum value to the maximum value in increments of the given Step value.
  • Dual: Two handles, one for a negative value and the second for a positive value.
  • Range: Two handles that create a range between them. The range is from the Minimum value to the Maximum value.

Additional slider options include the ability to:

  • Display or hide min and max axis labels.
  • Set which direction the slider will move ('Orientation'), horizontally (from left to right and vice versa) or vertically (from top to bottom and vice versa)
  • Display the value set when sliding the handle ('Display value box')
  • Animate the slider so it slides automatically when a value is clicked ('Animate')
  • Show a tick mark for every Step along the slider ('Show tick marks')
  • Set the lowest value that can be obtained on the slider ('Minimum value ')
  • set the highest value that can be obtained on the slider ('Maximum value')
  • Set the interval between selectable values ('Step')
  • Set the total length of the slider in pixels ('Length')
  • Display 'Minimum label' next to the slider's lowest value side
  • Display 'Maximum label' by the maximum slider position

In addition, Advanced Properties allow for programming of prepopulated and default values, as described in Prepopulate Data. Slider questions can also be customized for look and feel by editing your theme's CSS in Theme Manager.

14:  Captcha Questions

A Captcha is used to identify that a respondent is a human by having them type a random generated text phrase from an image or audio clip into a text box. When inserting a Captcha question there is now question text or choice texts to insert. It is simply a section of HTML content, similar to the Extra Text question type, except that it requires the piping variable ~QUESTION~ to insert the Captcha device onto the page. 

The Captcha question type is for respondent validation purposes only. The user input is not stored to the database and is therefore not available within data exports.

Modifications to the Captcha device text and styling is controlled through the Web settings tab in the Survey Properties.

15:  Inserting questions from template

To insert any previously templated questions, select "Template Manager" from the Survey functions menu. Within the Template Manager you will see all of the templated sets of questions. You can click the [+] icon next to each to expand and view more information. To insert, simply mark the checkbox next to the Question Template and click "INSERT TEMPLATES" from the bottom of the page.

You cannot make any modifications to the question text and/or conditional logic directly within the Template Manager. Any modifications to the questions must be made after inserting them into the survey.

For more information on creating question templates, see here.

16:  General Customizations to Question Types

For radio, pulldown, and checkbox questions, several question customizations are available as follows:

16.1:  Question Identifier

The question identifier can be modified to any 54-digit alphanumeric character. It must be preceded by the letter Q. Dashes and underscores are not supported. While they may in some instances work with fielding within Kinesis, they are not necessarily supported by third-party software upon which exports are based, and therefore should be avoided.

16.2:  Label

(Checkbox only) A unique identifier for each choice to identify data labels in exports. Use the "relabel" button to set the labels to the default 1 through N from top to bottom. Where N is the number of choices. Warning: this will change the data labels for exports.

16.3:  Export Field

The export field allows any custom data value to be entered. Only numeric values are supported. The most common uses of this field are to export values for ‘Don’t know,’ Other specify’ and ‘None of the above’.

16.4:  Quota Field

The quota field is used in two ways. For simple quotas based upon a single database attribute, the entry of a ‘0’ will automatically terminate the respondent. A zero will cause the system to report the respondent as a ‘Profile’ (meaning profile-terminated). If a quota is desired for a particular option, entering the desired quota will terminate respondents after that number is filled. For programming of more complex quotas, please visit Quota Examples.

16.5:  Insert Image

If insertion of images or other media is desired, they may be uploaded using the File Uploader feature. They will be placed next to the desired option choice using the pulldown menu labeled ‘Image.’

16.6:  Branching

Branching is used to support GOTO statements. Within Kinesis, both branching and conditional logic are supported and are discussed more fully in the section on Conditional Logic.

16.7:  Other Specify

The Other field column is used for creating an ‘Other, please specify’ box adjacent to a question option as well as adding validation to ensure that if the box is checked, text is entered in the text box.

16.8:  Randomization

The randomization column is used for randomizing, as well as anchoring, any options that are checked (unchecked options will be anchored in their existing position). Generally speaking, Kinesis Survey provides a comprehensive solution for randomizing and anchoring survey elements, with multiple randomization modes available. These will be discussed in more detail in Randomizations and Rotations.

16.9:  Additional Display Options

Other display options (the number of columns for printing choices, column width, and order of choices) can also be customized. In general, for all other elements, moving your mouse over the element will display its purpose, and there is a help file behind each screen wherever you see a question mark.

16.10:  HTML Editor

To customize other elements of the question, it may be possible to use the HTML editor. There is a separate HTML editor screen for each page of the survey (this applies to all question types). The html may be found on the Survey Editor screen as shown below:

Clicking on the  icon will bring up the following screen:

It may be seen that the words ~QTEXT~~QUESTION~~ are placed inside the HTML editor. These should be left as is. To place text (such as informational text, images, or definitions) above your question, begin typing in front of this line; to place information after it, type below it. Clicking on the icons in the above screen will give you an idea of the capabilities of the HTML editor. It may be used to insert media (using the table icon will allow you to neatly line up multiple images) and perform a variety of other tasks.

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