Posted by Brian McNamara
Last week was Questionmark’s 10th annual Users Conference – and the eighth one that I’ve personally been able to attend. At each of the previous conferences I’ve attended, I’ve been asked the same question: Why are you doing paper evaluations when you’re an online assessment company?
We actually had a very good reason: our main interest in doing session evaluations was to maximize the quality and quantity of the feedback that we received. If you wanted to maximize response rates, you had to make it as EASY as possible to answer the survey.  For smile sheets, paper trumped online… until now.
Enter the second decade of the 21st century:

  • Smartphones equipped with cameras are commonplace – many of us couldn’t imagine leaving home without ours.
  • QR Codes embedding website URLs are easy to come by, too: at grocery/department stores and malls, on billboards, in magazines, brochures, you name it.
  • QR Code- reading software, which essentially turns your Smartphone into a hand-held scanner, is freely available.
  • Questionmark’s auto-sensing, auto-sizing assessment delivery engine enables a single assessment to be delivered reliably and effectively on many different browsers and platforms – PC or mobile – without any extra steps for the author or administrator. Plus, you can capture key demographic information to the assessment results from an assessment URL.

Delegates at the 2012 Users Conference had two choices for providing session evaluation feedback: scan a QR code with their mobile and answer the survey online, or fill out a paper form (which would be scanned and uploaded via Questionmark Printing and Scanning following the event).
For those using mobiles, scanning the QR code would launch the assessment. The intro screen would display the name of the session they had just attended (just to be sure they scanned the right code).

While I was happy that the mobile smile sheet delivery would ease the burden of post-conference scanning and uploading of results, it was particularly useful to get a real-time view on how delegates were reacting to sessions – during the conference we ran our Course Summary report (see below) a few times a day to get a sense of which sessions were bringing the most benefit to our customers.

This was the first year we offered this option, and I was pleased to see to that more than 20% of all the session evals submitted were done via mobile device! Next year we’ll shoot for 80% and for 100% in 2014!  Paper-free and loving it!