Battle of the Features: Branching vs. Question Display Logic

In a platform as robust as Zarca’s, with a breadth of features not available in most online survey solutions, we occasionally encounter a question about “redundant features.”  This question often arises with respect to my two favorite features — Branching and Question Display Logic.  While these features may be similar in concept, they each perform distinct functions, giving the survey creator an opportunity to enhance surveys in unique ways.


Branching, also known as Skip Logic, is a feature that allows survey creators to determine the questions that participants should and should not see based on previously answered questions.  For example, if a survey contains a question about the highest level of education you have achieved and you respond by stating you earned a bachelor’s degree, you should not be prompted with additional questions about the experience of receiving a doctorate.  Branching ensures that participants do not have to see questions that are not applicable to their circumstances. This further ensures that the survey creator will receive the best data possible.

When implementing the Branching feature, the survey creator must direct the participant from one survey page to another.  Based on how a participant answers a question on one page, he/she may be directed to another page for a series of follow-up questions.  For this reason, we say that Branching is “page-to-page dynamic.”

Question Display Logic

Question Display Logic (QDL) is similar to Branching in concept because it allows the survey creator to display certain questions based on how participants respond to preceding questions. Unlike Branching, however, QDL is not page-to-page dynamic.  With QDL, the follow-up question will pop up on the same page.  For example, if a survey contains a question asking the participant to rate the quality of a conference, and the participant selects “Poor,” the QDL feature can prompt a text box to appear immediately below the original question. The participant can then offer additional feedback and further explain their selection.

When survey creators ask me, “Which feature should I use?” I share the following tip:  If you are asking multiple follow-up questions that are best placed on a page by themselves, use Branching.  If, however, you are simply looking for a simple response to a single follow-up question, use Question Display Logic.

Happy surveying!

Mama Always Said, “Box is Like a Life of Chocolates”

Did you ever have one of those moments when you have the exact, perfect thing to say — a hilarious quip, a snappy comeback, the answer to a Jeopardy question — but you get so excited to shout it out that when it leaves your lips the words fall out completely wrong. Don’t worry; it happens to me all the time.

If it’s just your friends who think you’re lame, that’s fine. But what about when your little mistake is sent to thousands of your colleagues, clients or prospects? Not as easy to say, “Oops.”

You can save yourself a lot of hassle just by taking the time to proofread your work. Unfortunately, proofreading is a lost art for two main reasons:

1. Spell Check — I’d argue that spell check has caused more embarrassing typos than it has saved. It’s a great feature but should not be used as a substitute for the old “once over.” Spell check won’t notice that you used the wrong “their” or missed a word, but other people will.

2. Haste — Reading and rereading takes time. So it really comes down to a simple question: Do you want it done now, or do you want it done right?

So slow down. Before you hit Send or (God forbid) “Reply All,” take a minute to check your work.  Remember, the Zarca platform includes a built-in spell check, plus you can always speak to a client representative about any concerns. Even though you can still edit your survey text once it’s live, have someone proofread it before hundreds of others get their hands on it.  You won’t receive compliments for your impeccable use of punctuation, but you’re not going to lose credibility either.

Show Them You’re Listening

On any given day, I have more survey requests in my inbox than I know what to do with.  As a consumer, if I can offer my opinion to a company that I do business with, I will.  I look at it as a way to improve my future experiences, plus it sends me a clear message — help us help you.

Businesses are interacting with consumers like never before. Software and technology have evolved to the point where businesses can reach out to their consumers in an instant and direct way. Social networking, Twitter, email and text messaging all give your business the unprecedented access of having your finger on the pulse of a target audience.

Unfortunately, as a consumer, I rarely hear about the findings or conclusions from the many surveys I complete.  How do I know if the valuable feedback I’m providing is read by anyone or even taken seriously?  If I knew that my feedback would lead to a better customer experience, I would be much more motivated to participate in these surveys.

Well, smart companies are beginning to address these concerns.  Survey software has advanced so much that we can easily highlight intricate trends and details.  No longer do you have to be an Excel or SPSS savant to create a quality report.  The hours spent on Excel, or your enterprise system, are not necessary anymore; that onerous work is obsolete, expensive and resource-heavy.  Companies can now easily manage their image, message and brand through direct customer feedback.

Survey software has made it possible for companies to demonstrate an appreciation for their most precious asset of all — their consumers.  Do you consider your company a good listener?  Tell me how you express an appreciation for customers.