Collecting Offline Surveys

Surveys can be completed on a device that is not connected to the internet. For example, survey results could be typed into a tablet or laptop where the internet connection isn't reliable or available

Important - The way Offline Surveys work was changed in March 2020. This was to deal with an upcoming change to the Google Chrome Browser. For more information about this, see the "March 2020" update section.

By using an offline survey link, all responses collected whilst offline will be stored in the device and can be uploaded once the device is connected to the internet.Any unsupported features will need to be switched off or removed before you use an offline link to ensure it works properly. Here is the list of features which are not supported in offline mode:

  • File Upload Question Type
  • Custom Variables
  • Skip Logic
  • Piping
  • Scoring
  • Page Randomisation
  • Question Randomisation
  • Answer Option Randomisation
  • Survey Authentication
  • Password Protection
  • Default Answers
  • Language Selection
  • Save & Continue

Custom Images: These are now supported by default and should work. If you have problems with custom images included in a survey, you can add the image to the resource manifest - this is done in the settings tab for the Offline Tracking Link

Create the Offline Survey Link

  1. On the Collect page of your survey, ensure that your Survey Status is set to Open
  2. Scroll down to the horizontal menu How do you want to Collect Responses?
  3. Select Offline Mode
  4. A dialogue box opens, displaying the offline survey password. Copy and paste this password for future reference
  5. A tracking link for the offline survey is displayed - click the orange Customise Link to change it (optional) and click Save Link
  6. Review the Recommended Browsers and Unsupported Features
  7. Click Settings in the menu on the left​

Collect Offline Responses

To collect responses, open the custom survey link using a compatible browser.

Please note: Do not use 'private' or 'incognito' mode while completing offline surveys, as your responses will be lost once the browser window closes

  • Click the Add New Response button to add a single response.
  • Click Start Kiosk Mode to open a new, blank survey each time a survey is completed. Exit Kiosk Mode by pressing Alt+U, or shaking the mobile device.

In Kiosk Mode, you will need to enter a password when you begin, and the same password again when you are done.

Recent browser privacy changes mean that responses stored for more than 7 days will not be retained, so we strongly recommend uploading the responses as frequently as possible, connectivity permitting.

Upload Offline Responses

Once you have finished your offline survey, you can upload responses individually, or upload all of your responses at the same time.

  • To upload one response, click Upload next to it.
  • Click Upload All Local Responses to upload all of the responses from that session.Please note, that whilst we aim to optimise our surveys on all major web browsers, there is a list of recommended browsers to use with offline mode:

If you have forgotten your kiosk mode password, please raise a support ticket

April 2020 Update

Why is it changing?

The Offline Surveys feature was built using the browser’s "Application Cache API" that has been deprecated and will be removed in a future version of Chrome. Other browsers will remove this too in the near future.

You may see a notification message on your browser about this when loading offline surveys:

“[Deprecation] Application Cache API manifest selection is deprecated and will be removed in M82, around April 2020. See https://www.chromestatus.com/features/6192449487634432 for more details.”

How have you changed it?

Offline surveys now use the browser’s "Service Workers" feature, which is the recommended solution.

While this work is completed, it is a significant architectural change and this technology is fairly new so it is not be fully supported yet.

Because of this, we will continue to support the previous version for the time being, but we do recommend all users to switch over to the new version, because surveys using the older method will eventually stop working as browsers get updated.

What do I need to do?

To use the new version of the offline survey feature, you'll need to update the links that you (and others) use to access your offline surveys before going offline.

These legacy offline surveys links will have the following format:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ABCXYZ

To start using the new version, you simply need to insert "offline/" between the "s/" and the survey identifier code, as illustrated below:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/offline/ABCXYZ

We recommend you upload any existing responses on your device before switching over to the new link.

We also encourage you to fully test the new version on your device to ensure it is working as you expect.

iOS Devices: At the time of writing (2nd April 2020), Safari on iOS had not been updated to support the Service Workers feature. If you intend to run your offline surveys using an iOS device such as an iPad, we recommend installing Chrome on the device and using that.

If you do have any trouble at all then please contact our support team.

Please note: Do not use 'private' or 'incognito' mode while completing offline surveys, as your responses will be lost once the browser window closes

 

Was this guide helpful?