Web conference polls are almost always presented as multiple choice questions. The differences in implementation tend to be in the following areas:
- Some vendors let you designate a question as multiple answer (“Choose all that apply”). Others only allow a single answer per attendee.
- Some vendors limit you in the number of answer choices you can present to the attendees.
- Some vendors let you choose how results are displayed (absolute number of votes, percent of total, bar/pie charts).
- Some vendors let you create/edit your polls inside an active meeting. Others require you to set up the polls as an administrative function beforehand.
Today I found myself wanting to conduct a completely different kind of real-time poll in a webinar. And I realized there wasn’t a single technology out there that could accomplish the task. So I present this as a challenge to the webinar/webcast vendors… Let’s get creative!
Scenario: I want to find out how my audience ranks a list of items
Purpose: Getting a group sense of importance, popularity, interest, etc. from highest to lowest
Implementation Options: I can think of a few different ways to ask the question and to compile/display results.
Q: Rank the following items (1 is highest, 4 is lowest)
Choice A O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4
Choice B O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4
Choice C O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4
Choice D O 1 O 2 O 3 O 4
[Extra points to the vendor if they allow an option to verify non-duplication of rank between choices. No fair voting both A and C as #1!]
Q: Indicate the relative importance of each item
Choice A O ++ O + O Neutral O - O --
Choice B O ++ O + O Neutral O - O --
Choice C O ++ O + O Neutral O - O --
Choice D O ++ O + O Neutral O - O --
Option #3 (requires a fancy interface)
Q: Drag items up and down to sort the list. Highest rank at the top, lowest at the bottom.
Whatever the attendee interface, you assign each rank a numerical value, add up the totals, and display the overall rank based on the cumulative values. You need to be able to indicate ties for a rank position and you need to deal with choices that don’t get answered by an attendee (a non-answer doesn’t necessarily indicate a low rank, and shouldn’t bias the results. Maybe assign it the score halfway between highest and lowest?) An even fancier statistic would be to also show how many “first place” votes each item received (as in college football polls).
If you can figure out a nice implementation of this polling methodology, you’ll be able to offer some serious added value to your customers and position yourself with a clearly differentiating feature.