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Digital Data Collection Platform Review: SurveyCTO

Two members of the TecSalud team, an engineer and a designer reviewed 3 of digital development’s highest ranked data collection platforms to see how they match up. Read more about the face off and our score categories in the intro blog.



Overall Score: 4 / 5

We found SurveyCTO to be very easy to use. It functions in a very similar way as CommCare, with fewer features. One benefit of SurveyCTO over CommCare is that it does provide an in-tool data visualization feature. It’s a bit tricky to use, but it does allow users to analyze their data without having to use a separate tool. 

Category 1: Product Orientation

Score: 4/5

User Friendly and Intuitive: SurveyCTO’s user interface is very friendly and easy to navigate. The application has “tool tips” where you can click a specific topic and it will lead you to the support section to find the answer. Also, the application builder is intuitive with names and titles that are easy to understand and navigate.

Good Support Material: SurveyCTO has a “Getting Help” site where you can access a Video Library for introductory material and guides to get you started. There is also a Support Center where you can directly ask for help solving specific questions, however, this may take time as you’ll have to wait to hear back from the support team. Each section of the application builder features a “Help” icon that will lead you directly to a support section where you can likely find detailed information.

Application Simulator: SurveyCTO has a “Preview” option that enables users to test out their survey without having to install it onto a mobile device. This allows for a faster solution or correction of problems while developing your survey.

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Category 2: Primary Features

Score: 4/5

Free Version: Survey CTO’s free version allows for most question types to be included in the application design. It does limit features like including images and multimedia in your questions. You can learn more about SurveyCTO’s pricing tiers on their pricing page.

Flexible Formatting: The app builder allows for somewhat flexible formatting in terms of adding images or other visual support material. Text formatting is limited, but you can include “hints” that will give you extra information to help you complete the survey in a clear way.

Connecting Data: SurveyCTO also has a case management feature which lets you create “cases”, which are topics of interest, that you can track over time without having to re-enter basic initial information every time you want to complete a form. It is slightly harder to find the information on how to use this in this platform, but once you find it it’s very clear.

SurveyCTO interface.png

Category 3: Logic

Score: 4/5

Easy Logic Programing: Building logic in SurveyCTO is very intuitive and easy to manage if you don’t have technical experience, by using their “Wizard” tool that simplifies programing by using dropdown menus with simple parameters you can easily adjust.

Conditioning and Relevance for Questions: In SurveyCTO you can add conditions to your questions so that they are responsive to previous questions and answers. This allows for your survey to adjust so that only relevant questions are visible to the user.

Advanced Logic: You can increase your logic complexity by adding logic conditions to each question, one by one. You can’t write a whole complex sentence filled with conditions, but instead you can add as many simple conditions as you want, allowing for a final complex reaction to occur. This can be time consuming and has a few limitations, but allows for a medium to high level of logic complexity.

SurveyCTO logic.png

Category 4: Mobile Experience

Score: 4/5

Mobile Devices: SurveyCTO only works on the web and with Android devices.

Appearance: Much like CommCare, questions are displayed separately on different pages. You can also decide to group as many questions as you want in a single page. Conditions and logic respond well to this organized sequence in answers and flows smoothly.

SurveyCTO tablet.jpg

Category 5: Data Use and Visualization

Score: 4/5

Downloading Data: There are a few ways to manage and visualize our data in SurveyCTO. You can download it to Excel Sheets, Google Docs, or as a CSV files. It is easy to download and export data from the “Export” tab in the application builder.

Good Built-In Data Visualization: You can visualize your data in SurveyCTO’s “Explore” function, located right in the survey builder. This built-in feature can be used to review each individual data submission and provides aggregated data. You can customize this to show data as charts and graphs. SurveyCTO also supports a second data visualization option through separate software called “SurveyCTO Sync.” They consider this the most powerful tool for users to download, process, and export data. However, we found this confusing to use and you have to really read into it to find its true benefits.

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Want to see how SurveyCTO stacked up against two other popular data collection tools?

Check out our introductory blog, or read our reviews of CommCare and Magpi.