Frustration

I’ve been trying to implement two things for my questionnaire. One is a tag cloud which comes back after the user has filled in their answer. This will give them two entry points in to all of these words.

Now I come to write this I’m considering the value of having the tag cloud at all. Is it any more than a trick? Will it help people to reflect on the questionnaire. I’m actually inclined to think that the best things here will be the simplest. People will want to read other people’s answers. They’ll definitely want to do that. Who wouldn’t?

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CAPTCHA

One issue with my questionnaire is spam. Any online text form is open to a lot of spam. I need a way of protecting myself against it. The most common way is the CAPTCHA (stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). I hate these things. I think most people do. You know the things where you have to type in a mash of letters and half the time they’re impossible to see and if they’re not, at best they ruin the pleasant flow of the navigation. I really don’t want that. They’re fine for Yahoo! but not for this. I don’t want one of those CAPTCHAs coming near my questionnaire. There’s also a useful page on the accessibility issues associated with CAPTCHAs on the W3C website.

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Ajax polling system

NB – Please note that I wrote most of this post about a week ago but didn’t feel like it was finished for some reason. By rights the date on this ought to be 18th of June.

I’ve found an ajax polling system that takes one closed question, adds it to a database and serves back the results for the poll immediately. Exactly what I need. I had some trouble getting it to work but the basic problems I didn’t figure out myself were solved on this useful ubuntu forum discussion.

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databases and poll scripts

I’ve been testing a simple poll script that has a few advantages. These include cookies that stop people from filling out the questionnaire twice, a pie chart that gives results immediately after filling the form out (which is linked to the Google API) and a simple form based admin process that means I can create a questionnaire in ten minutes.

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Modal windows

I think I want my questionnaire to appear on humjam in a modal window. This is a window that floats over the top of the main page of a website. My reason for wanting this is that I’m inclined to think the questionnaire should have its own space on the website. With a modal window the rest of the site is displayed behind a semi transparent background over which the modal window content hovers. This is great because the modal window contents are the only thing the user can see, ie – the questionnaire and not the humjam logo and links. At the same time, it’s easy to get back to the main site.

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Pixelated backgrounds for humjam.com

One thing I liked in earlier experiments was the pixelated photographs I used in the background of my prototype questionnaire. I have decided to use these as background images on my humjam website. Each time someone goes to a different page or refreshes there will be a different, random pixelated image. Some of them are rather nice and I’m going to put them here as things in their own right.

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I am going to put my questionnaire on a new website

I was going to put my questionnaire on its own site. I was going to call it www.all-questionnaire.com. I’ve decided I don’t want to do this. Instead I have bought the domain http://www.humjam.com, which will be a website with a much broader purpose and will feature work by artists other than me. For it to get an audience it needs to be on a site that has some status as a destination in a more general sense. I think the way to achieve this is to create a website that will host more and more art in the future, by many different artists. This way the site will steadily generate more and more incoming links, become more and more searchable with time and will hopefully be a valuable resource.

I’m calling it humjam because the name fell into my head and it stuck. I thought of all sorts of others but they were all taken or just weren’t as good. Humjam is short, semi-alliterative and whenever I’ve told people the name they’ve all read different meanings in it. One friend said it was similar to the Farsi word for ‘Everything comes here’, though he did say his Farsi isn’t that great so I do need to check it with someone who speaks fluent Farsi.

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