Introduction to UNICOM Intelligence project templates
Introduction to UNICOM Intelligence project templates
Project templates are a powerful UNICOM Intelligence feature. They provide a starting point for new survey projects and can include anything that a new project may require. This includes, but is not limited to, pre-populated questions, layout templates, images, activation settings and wizard support functionality previously limited to UNICOM Intelligence library items. These settings can then be packaged into a single project template package as a .ptz file, or stored in the Question Repository as a survey asset.
This section provides an overview of the project template functionality, and the types of files that can be included with them. Detailed steps describing how to create and deploy project templates are beyond the scope of this section, as are details on how to script wizards for project templates.
Initial metadata document
The primary, and probably most obvious, use of project templates is to define the initial metadata document (MDD) that projects, which are based upon the template, will start with. When a new project is created from a project template, the new project’s MDD is a copy of the project template’s MDD. This allows questions to be predefined for the survey, and makes inclusion of common demographic and screener questions easier. Routings and routing script can also be predefined, allowing common survey logic such as quota checks or screening logic to be included with new projects.
Layout templates
Organizations often want to provide a common look and feel to their survey projects, especially those that are delivered as web surveys. UNICOM Intelligence controls common look and feel through the use of layout templates; project templates allow common layout templates, and all of their associated files, to be specified. This ensures that all projects created from the project template maintain the desired look and feel. In addition to layout templates, web surveys can also include common JavaScript libraries or media files that can be used to provide a more dynamic survey experience.
Activation settings
One of the most important steps in the lifecycle of a UNICOM Intelligence survey is its activation. Activation is how a survey creator can deploy a survey to UNICOM Intelligence Interviewer - Server Admin, and make it available for interviewing. Activation itself can be a complicated process, especially when the survey is intended for telephone interviewing. There are over a hundred different settings that govern everything from the modes that the survey will be available for (Web, Telephone, Live, or Data Entry), to defining the day parts that will take effect during telephone interviewing.
An organization will often spend a great deal of time discovering the most efficient activation settings for their business needs. However, communicating these settings and expecting survey creators to activate their projects with the correct settings may introduce more risk than the organization is willing to accept. To help reduce this risk, the settings can be saved (as activation.xml) during activation and then packaged as part of the project template. Alternatively, the activation settings are automatically saved when a survey is activated prior to packaging it as a project template. When a new project is based upon the saved project template, the activation settings will default to those stored within the project template. This helps ensure that common activation settings can be quickly and accurately duplicated across multiple projects.
Other project files
In addition to the MDD, layout templates, and activation settings mentioned earlier, a UNICOM Intelligence project can include any number of additional files. Copies of all files, packaged with the project template, are available to any new project created from the template. The following list describes some of the more common UNICOM Intelligence file types that may be useful to include with a project template:
Quota - A project template could include some common demographic questions, a quota file based upon those questions, and routing script logic to check the quota. This easily allows a relatively novice user to create a survey project that utilizes the UNICOM Intelligence quota feature.
Sample - Common sample scripts and records can be included with the project template. This helps ensure the availability of the sample script and records when the new survey project is activated.
Case data - Auto Answer Playback is an UNICOM Intelligence Author and UNICOM Intelligence Professional feature. This feature allows auto answer to use case data to guide its simulated respondents through a survey, and is very useful when testing screener questions. Creating a project template that utilizes screener questions, and case data that passes those screener questions, can help make a survey creator’s testing more efficient.
Project information - Much like the activation settings can be stored as activation.xml, the settings used to define a survey’s behavior within UNICOM Intelligence Interviewer can also be saved as ProjectInfo.xml. Including standard Project Info settings in a project template can help standardize the deployment options chosen when deploying a survey project to UNICOM Intelligence Interviewer.
Data sources - UNICOM Intelligence provides an option for creating database questions. When the data source is a static file (Excel, .csv, and so on), database questions can be included in the project template; any subsequent survey projects created from the template will contain the database questions. This method allows the database question feature to be used with disconnected live interviewing.
A UNICOM Intelligence ‘wizard’ is based on UNICOM Intelligence’s mrScript and survey technology. Wizards are presented as surveys to the user, allowing the wizard creator to ask the user any number of questions. Using mrScript and the user’s input, a wizard can then modify what is known as the ‘source’ MDD. This can be an extremely powerful extension that greatly increases the flexibility of the source MDD by allowing the addition of new questions, categories, routings, and so on.
In previous releases, wizard feature support was limited to UNICOM Intelligence library items. Because of limitations with the library insertion mechanism, only the default routing and the source MDD’s metadata would be inserted into the open document. The support for wizards within project templates eliminates this limitation. Because a copy of the project template’s source MDD becomes the starting point for a new project, a wizard can create and modify any number of routings, all of which becoming part of the new project. This can prove useful when creating a project template that will generate different routings for different modes, or when simplifying the validation routing for a data entry project.
After creating the project template, using UNICOM Intelligence Author or UNICOM Intelligence Professional, the template then needs to be deployed before it can be used. There are several different deployment methods:
File system - This is the easiest and most straightforward deployment method. After the project template file (.ptz) has been created, it can be stored on the file system; this can be either a local directory, or a shared network location.
Server library - When UNICOM Intelligence Author Server Edition is used, the project template file can be given to an UNICOM Intelligence Interviewer - Server Admin administrator so that it can be added to the UNICOM Intelligence Interviewer - Server Admin server library. Once added to the server library, the project template file is available for use by all UNICOM Intelligence Author Server Edition users.
UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository – The UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository feature integrates UNICOM Intelligence and IBM SPSS Collaboration and Deployment Services and allows survey assets to be stored within the UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository (to be reused across an organization). A survey asset can be designated as a project template by assigning a repository topic (or subtopic) to the asset.
Using project templates
After the project templates have been created and deployed, they are almost ready to be used by new survey creators. The final step is to appropriately configure the authoring tool:
File system - When project templates are deployed to the file system, both UNICOM Intelligence Author and UNICOM Intelligence Professional must be configured to ensure the project template location points to the folder containing the deployed project templates.
Server library - This automatically configured option is only available in UNICOM Intelligence Author Server Edition.
UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository - When project templates are deployed to the UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository, UNICOM Intelligence Author, UNICOM Intelligence Author Server Edition, and UNICOM Intelligence Professional must be configured to use the UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository as the project template source. When configuring the UNICOM Intelligence Question Repository option, the repository where project templates are stored, and the root topic used to indicate a project template, must be specified.
It is possible to select a default project template, regardless of the chosen project template deployment method. Selecting a default project template ensures that new surveys, created from within the authoring tool, are based on the default project template.
UNICOM Intelligence project templates are a powerful and flexible feature that can help make new survey creation more efficient. Project templates can be crafted to include wizards and any number of supporting project files; this helps novice survey creators improve their survey creation speed while maintaining organizational standards. Project templates are supported in UNICOM Intelligence Author, UNICOM Intelligence Author Server Edition, andUNICOM Intelligence Professional, and their flexible deployment options make them easy to integrate into existing organizational processes.
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