Most of our teammates, being college students or UX designers, have faced the holy grail of research projects that no one likes to touch: surveys. Surveys are the holy grail since they provide you with the best information required to carry out your projects and/or reach effective conclusions. No one likes to touch them because—and here comes our problem statement—it is tiring to get enough people to fill out your surveys. We wanted to create something that not only increases survey reach but also diversifies and balance the demographics of surveys.
What it does
Most college students have research projects that require them to survey people. Often, surveying can become a hefty task as individually asking people to fill out surveys is tedious and not efficient. Often, they end up with very few user cases with little or no diversity. We believe that college students would be willing to help each other out in these cases, so why not make it into a platform? This is where SurveyDonkey comes in.
SurveyDonkey provides a decentralized platform that increases your survey reach by prompting people from your college or community to fill them out. It uses Twilio messaging, Discord bot integration, and AssemblyAI TTS for letting people answer these surveys and also for prompting them to fill new surveys. It also diversifies your survey audience by automatically balancing responses between genders, races, etc.!
In addition, we also summarise multiple short-answer responses using NLP (natural language processing) and take audio-based responses if people prefer to talk rather than type (thank you AssemblyAI).
This solves the problems of
- People creating fake survey responses for fulfilling criteria
- Not enough reach or user diversity in surveys
- Unbalanced reach/demographic (for eg. if a survey about sex has 80% men and 20% women respondents or vice-versa, it doesn't give trustworthy results)
- Going through numerous paragraph responses (instead, our AI summarises answers into one)
- College Students: Since college students always have some research project or the other on hand which usually requires a surveying and research component, this could be very handy to them for getting enough reach on their surveys and get lots of diverse use cases. We partner with colleges to share these surveys through portals/SMS/Discord of their students so that they can choose to answer them. We also believe that college students, sharing this common pain, would relate to
- UX Designers and Entrepreneurs: UX or User Experience Designers—people who design apps and websites—or people who're venturing into a new must take into consideration their users' needs and perspectives while creating their products. Same reasons as above.
- Companies: Companies can survey their users/employees using our service by simply integrating their user databases into our application!
How do we balance demographics?
Since there is a point-reward system for completing a survey, if you're of a demographic that is underrepresented in a survey, you get a multiplier on a point. If the survey has 80% males, and if you're female or non-binary, for doing the survey, you will get more points. Hence, the underrepresented people will have more incentive to do the survey
Incentivization to fill surveys
- We give DonkeyCoins to people who submit surveys, and they can only post their own surveys once they have enough coins/credits.
- College students usually share this pain of surveying and end up filling out the surveys for their fellow classmates. A survey about a topic interesting to them is a plus!
- We provide our survey-creators with the ability to add cash/coupon lottery-based incentives using a Stripe integration in the form
How we built it
- We have built a website that allows people to create surveys and check their statistics, which has been built on React and GraphQL.
- App Component for answering surveys built on React Native
- SMS-based survey interface built out using Twilio. Please see this video that demonstrates the implementation of our SMS bot https://youtu.be/39i20UTAnBY
- AssemblyAI used for voice input and summarization on app component. Check out the implementation on https://youtu.be/p11ujxOwAzg
- MongoDB on GCP to store all the data
- Google Cloud serverless functions and Python for the main backend logic
Challenges we ran into
- Synchronizing AssemblyAI with React Native
- Maintaining Twilio state across various servers
- We ran into CORS issues locally since our API was on Google Cloud Platform and locally NGINX was blocking requests due to a difference of origin. This led to some pretty weird behavior. We finally solved it by installing a CORS Chrome extension.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Overcoming the above challenges
- Working across two opposite timezones (IST and EST)
- Creating a completely working prototype
- Using most available technologies to us at this hackathon (Twilio, AssemblyAI, Google Cloud)
What we learned
- Researched issues that college students faced and related them with our own.
- We learned that can be a challenge to balance demographics across service
- Using AssemblyAI (what a cool tool)
- Complicated Twilio Workflows
- Dashboard design
What's next for SurveyDonkey
- Actually partnering with colleges and workplaces and integrating our service into their portals/classroom applications.
- Beta-testing and conducting UX surveys for SurveyDonkey (using SurveyDonkey, lol)
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