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Building SharePoint Suggestion Boxes and Soliciting Anonymous Feedback - Page 2, Page 2

  • By Nickolas Kortesis
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Building a Suggestion Box using a Survey

Using the survey page feature, you can post a question to all users of a SharePoint site for feedback. Similar to the discussion board option discussed in the preceding section, the survey page's main purpose is to distribute multiple questions across a business team. You can use this as a way to create a suggestion box with a single question. Making the question available to everyone means you can receive a wide range of feedback. A creator can post an open-ended question, such as one that continually solicits ways to improve the business. Such a page exposes a continuous method of feedback without the need to set time limitations. Because this is a survey, all participants will be able to provide their feedback without fear of identity exposure for their (perhaps controversial) opinions.


Creating the survey suggestion box is just as simple as creating the discussion board—and the process is nearly the same:

    1. Begin by finding the Site Actions menu, and then click the Create button. You will be relocated to the SharePoint layout page.
    2. Locate the Tracking header and find the Survey button. On the survey creation page (see Figure 4), provide a name for the survey. Remember to keep the name short and simple to minimize confusion for end users. Again, in the description area you may add a thorough write-up to give details to those who will later use the survey.
    3. Select "No" for the option to "Show user names in survey results." This will hide the names of those providing the feedback, then click OK.
    4. You'll see the "New Question" page (see Figure 5), where you can post your question and set appropriate attributes. Because this survey is intended as an anonymous suggestion box, you need to create only one question.

  • Make sure you choose "Multiple lines of text" for the answer type. This ensures that people answering the question will have room to provide sufficient feedback. From this screen you can also go into more detail about the type of answer you are expecting. You may choose to allow a specific number of lines for the answer, and the type of text to allow (plain text, rich text, or rich text and pictures. Plain text is usually fine; however, it does limit the amount of detail a user can enter. When you're ready to proceed, click the Finish button.

Because you already elected not to include participants' names in the creation page (see step 3), you don't have to go to the Advanced settings to adjust read and edit settings. When you click Finish, you'll see the main survey screen where you can post questions and look at responses. The survey page (see Figure 6) displays all the responses to the posted question. You can also see the number of responses and choose to see graphical displays of your data. In some cases that's helpful, but it may or may not be relevant when using the survey feature as a suggestion box with free-text responses.

Taking It to the Next Level

You can expand the survey feature by taking advantage of its question-customization features. For example, you might implement a voting system by setting the answer to the question to a choice list (see Figure 5). If you do that, the page will reload and then give you the options to add all the possible choices. Anonymity is baked in to the survey tool, so you don't have to remove identifying fields.

Originally published on https://www.developer.com.

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This article was originally published on December 17, 2008

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