iSalient is a hosted survey solution by the people of ActiveCampaign, makers of 1-2-All, Triolive, Support Trio, and KnowledgeBuilder. iSalient promised to be an easy to use, quickly deployable hosted survey solution, that could gather stats and responses used in analyzing user trends. I decided to take a look and see how exactly it stacks up.
What is iSalient?
iSalient is a ajax powered form creation service, similar to Wufoo, but focused more on larger forms, such as multiple paged surveys. iSalient is a paid service, which ranges from $8.95/month to $129.95/month. Each plan has different levels of max responses and administrators, but all plans support unlimited survey / form creation.
For the purpose of this review, I’ll be using a 30 day Free Trial. All responses to my example survey were provided by myself, to speed up the review process but still show live examples of charts, etc.
Upon completing registration, you can quickly login and immediately begin creating your first survey. I navigated to the “Surveys” tab in the navigation, exposing a drop-down menu where I went to “Add”.
From the “Add” screen, you are presented with a few basic options. They include name, display title, window title, design style, start and end dates, and max number of responses (if required). Additional option categories can be exposed by clicking the different sections to expand the required div. For example, clicking the “Security Options” header will bring up the options of protecting the survey with a password, unique codes, or IP. Other additional category headings where you can fine tune different settings include response options, navigation options, and what the user sees or what page they get redirected to after successfully and unsuccessfully completing the survey.
Once you finish saving changes to your survey, you are brought back to the main survey view, or “Manage” under the survey tab. Here you can edit, change the options, copy, deploy or delete any of your surveys. It also shows you if each survey is currently opened, closed, or in the design stage, how many pages a survey has, and how many questions are in that survey.
Adding questions to a particular survey is probably the hardest part of using iSalient. By clicking edit, you are brought to a screen where you can add various fields to your survey, all using ajax, so the page updates right in front of you. Because these are surveys, and surveys tend to be long, the creation wizard will first guide you to create a page. In my experimental survey, I’m only using one page and 5 questions.
There are 18 types of questions to choose from – from single line or paragraph text, to matrix radio button, text boxes, or check boxes. Once you specify which type of question you wish to add, the page will refresh and will load the options required for you to fill in based on what type of field you just created. When you are all set, you can save changes and continue building the survey. At any time you can re-order the questions, and when finished you can simply leave the page, as with each field save the entire form is saved.
Once I completed my test survey, I went back to the survey tab and found my way to the “styles” link. From here, you can create your own style in a wizard (or edit and existing one), or import an .XML file you may have already created and exported in iSalient.
If you create your own theme or edit one, there are a lot of customization options, starting with being able to upload your own logo. You can set the colors and fonts for the body, page (survey) background, question headers, progress bar, and footer, just to name a few. You can also associate your own custom css with each customization area (i.e. body). There is also pop-up color pickers available in case you don’t have an exact hex value in mind.
The reports tab can generate Google Analytics like graphs for each survey, and more specific, for each question of each survey. Depending on what type of question it was seems to depend on what kind of graph iSalient spits out. Sometimes they are bar graphs, and sometimes they are pie charts. This provides a quick overview of everyone’s thoughts on one specific question, without reading into the data too too much. You can also limit the time-frame for which you look at results for.
One of the most appealing features is the ability to also use iSalient as a mailing list manager. You can create lists and import subscribers or add them manually, then create emails directly from iS to go out to everyone. It would be very helpful if you intended to create a specific test panel, and wanted them to fill out new surveys on new products or services before being released into the wild. This way, you could submit a mass email and everyone would get the link to your newest survey quickly.
Where iSalient falters
The biggest problem I have with iS is the interface. The features are there, but the interface does not do a nice job backing them up and exposing everything the service has to offer. When you first login, the page looks rather blank. There’s nothing eye-popping and very little color, which seems to keep things hidden away. The interface is very compacted, and you can tell they tried to simplify the process of the using the application as much as possible, but they may have overdone it. The navigation is rather boring, and without even so much as little icons to distinguish different sections of the admin end, it leaves the application feeling like it has little to offer.
I think a fresh interface would be the best way of improving iSalient. I understand the need for a simple user interface, but by being too simple, it leaves features unexposed unless you go digging. Drag-and-drop abilities should also be integrated into the form / survey creation screen, as it would speed up the process of adding fields. Remember, surveys are generally pages upon pages long, and it would take an awful long time to add fields the way the survey creation page is currently set up.
All in all, the service is not bad at all, it could just use some tweaking to expose everything it can really do.
The preceding was a paid review for iSalient by ActiveCampaign. Regardless, all of our reviews are 100% accurate and are not influenced in any special way, regardless of whether or not they are paid. We hope to provide constructive criticism to help our reviewed companies and services improve their product for everyone. If you have a concern about our reviews, please contact us.