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Using Virtual Branches in the Surveys Administration Dashboard

Virtual branches (also known as Virtual Survey Questions) are used in the Surveys Administration Dashboard to simplify survey management by eliminating redundant lines of questioning. Virtual Branching lets the developer create a line of questioning once and then redirect survey users to the same line of questioning as necessary. They are most useful if you want to repeat sections of the survey following Answer Logic.

 

Virtual branch creation is not necessary when using the Aptify web interface to create and maintain surveys using the Surveys Panel View.

 

For example, a survey may ask users if they are willing to provide contact information. If the user responds Yes, the survey displays the Contact Info question. If the user responds No, the survey displays a Rate This Survey question.

The survey uses Answer Logic to deal with the two situations. However, even if the user replies Yes, the developer wants the survey to end in the same manner so that all users see the Rate This Survey question followed by Thank You.

Without a Virtual Branch, the developer needs to create the following items, as shown below:

Redundant Lines of Questioning

  1. A May We Contact survey question.
  2. A Contact Info survey question below May We Contact.
  3. A Rate This Survey survey question below Contact Info.
  4. A Thank You survey question below Rate This Survey.
  5. An Answer Logic branch for No.
  6. A Rate This Survey survey question below No.
  7. A Thank You survey question below Rate This Survey.  

In the example above, items 3 & 4 and 6 & 7 are identical. Rather than create identical lines of questioning, the developer can use a Virtual Branch to create a link between two locations within the survey.

With a Virtual Branch, the developer can add fewer items while creating the same survey structure, as shown below.

Virtual Branch

  1. May We Contact survey question.
  2. Contact Info survey question below May We Contact.
  3. Rate This Survey survey question below Contact Info.
  4. Thank You survey question below Rate This Survey.
  5. An Answer Logic branch for No.
  6. A virtual branch to Rate This Survey below No.
    • This virtual branch links to Rate This Survey in item 3. After answering Rate This Survey, a user is automatically directed to Thank You in item 4.
    • Aptify always makes the first instance within in a survey the parent branch. Therefore, as seen in the following figure, the Rate This Survey branch below the No is the parent branch, even though it was created second.

Keep in mind the following if you plan to use virtual branches:

  • A branch icon identifies a virtual branch in the Survey Administration dashboard. The solid icon indicates the parent branch to which the other virtual branches link; a shadowed icon indicates a virtual branch that links to the parent branch.
  • The parent branch is always the first occurrence of the virtual branch in the survey.
  • You can add a Virtual Branch as the next survey question or use it in conjunction with Answer Logic.
  • To create a Virtual Branch using the dashboard, right-click a branch and select Add Virtual Survey Question or Add Virtual Survey Question as Answer Logic.
  • For Add Virtual Survey Question, choose a solid leaf icon from the Select a branch that will be used as the Next Question Branch screen and click OK. Survey Questions that cannot be used as Virtual Branches have shadowed leaf icons.
  • For Add Virtual Survey Question as Answer Logic, select an answer from the Answers drop-down menu and click the Select button to display the Select a branch that will be used as the Next Question Branch screen, as shown below.

    Select Virtual Branch

  • Survey developers can "split" a Virtual Branch if changes need to be made to one or more of the child branches.
  • To split a Virtual Branch, right-click a child branch and choose Split Virtual Survey Question from the drop-down menu, as shown below.
  • Splitting ends a Virtual Branch relationship.
  • Splitting replaces a child branch with a duplicate of the parent branch (in other words, this action creates a duplicate line of questioning).
  • Splitting is only for the specified branch's top-level Virtual Branch. If the selected Virtual Branch contains a second Virtual Branch, the split operation will cease at the second -Virtual Branch. In other words, Aptify will duplicate the parent branch only up to the next Virtual Branch; any remaining Virtual Branches in the path remain intact.
     
    Split Virtual Branch 

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