Tips to design neat and engaging projects

Updated at May 13th, 2021

The fun of Protobi is to easily explore survey responses even when the surveys themselves were complex to design and field.  Whether your project is to share with your end clients or for your team only, here are a few tips to design views that are easy to navigate and easy on the eyes.

Add an introduction

Professional surveys can collect a lot of data.  When a client or colleague first opens the project, it can be reassuring to see a simple introduction providing context, like what the survey is about, who was invited, and how it's organized.

You can include text and graphic elements for visual interest and flow.  These can include text, images, links to PDF or PowerPoint reports, or video.  See  our tutorial "Add a project intro:

Group elements to organize the view 

Projects with elements organized into groups are neat and easy to navigate. 

  • Autogroup to create an initial question order. Batteries of questions will be grouped together. 
  • Group related questions into sections. 
  • Add a tab to group banner variables. 
  • Use the chart type “tabs” for groups that exceed 1-2 screens in vertical length.

Related tutorials:
How to group elements
Add a banner tab
Change chart type to tabs

Compact grids and checkboxes

Batteries of questions with identical response items can often summarized by a "compact" value. 

This works for:

  • Select-all-that-apply questions
  • Scale questions
  • Ranking questions

Related tutorials:
Compact to...
Compact set of questions

Color elements to highlight organization

Set element colors on groups to created a color-coded organization. All questions within the group will inherit the parent element’s icon color. 

Related tutorials:
Set element color

Customize the color theme to your firm or client 

Add your brand colors as a custom color scheme. Here we have Slack’s color palette as an example.

Apply the custom colors to charts. They’re selectable from the colors dialog along with Protobi’s default colors.

Related tutorials:
Add global color schemes
Set chart colors

Label elements clearly

Avoid confusion by using clear labels on each element.

  1. Display keys are presentable question labels 
  2. Headlines draw a conclusion 
  3. Title text is the survey question 
  4. Footnotes show additional details

Related tutorials:
How to change labels on elements

Round numeric values into custom ranges

Most questions that ask for numeric values should be rounded into ranges. Ranges are useful for analysis, and visually neater and more compact.

Related tutorials:
Round numeric values into ranges

Hide missing or skipped values

Hide missing values that are not relevant to your analysis.

S2 is shown to Practice nurses only. When [NA] values are hidden, only responses from nurses are shown (N = 40).

When [NA] is showing, the full survey population is shown, with 60% of values skipped.

Related tutorials:
Blank, skipped, and missing values
Edit properties: "showMissing"

Clone elements to create different views

Clone elements to create independent copies. 

Make changes to the clone, and keep the original element as is.

This is useful when you want to display a question in a different chart type, calculate a question as a ratio, recode values, etc.

Related tutorials:
Clone elements

Customize element chart type

When a survey is first imported, every question is displayed as Protobi's default chart type.
To create more interesting views, use different chart types.

Related tutorials:
Chart types

Use consistent widths for elements

Elements initially have the same width.

 If you resize an element, use a consistent width for all the elements on the page. This will give your project a uniform look.

Related tutorials:
How to resize elements
Edit "width" in JSON

Hide advanced tabs from end clients

Set internal tabs or specific elements to "EditorOnly". This removes the questions for View access users, and provides a cleaner view.  Users with Edit and Admin access can still see the elements. The element will appear with a lock symbol on the icon:

Related tutorials:
EditorOnly tabs
Permission levels

Upload the survey document for reference

Another way to keep a project tidy is to upload the survey document in project data. The questionnaire provides the Protobi team with additional information like question text that is missing from survey data.

Download the PowerPoint version of these tips

Tips to design engaging Protobi projects.pptx

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