From the Funnel

News and thoughts from the folks at TapTheory.

Today we just launched v1 of the Funnel API. The Funnel API is a RESTful web service for retrieving the responses for a particular form or survey. You can use it to display Funnel responses in your project or create your own visualization of the data.

Full documentation of the API is in our knowledge base: API – Get Responses for Funnel Form. We are looking for your feedback on our current implementation and for future API requests. Send them our way.

Before sending out a form or survey to a large group of people, many teams will send around their Funnel form for review. We wanted to make it easier for you to share the text of your form via email.

We added the ability to export your Funnel form as a text file, so you can copy it into an email or open it into Microsoft Word. Just go to your form’s Share tab.

We made a small, but much needed change. When you are editing your form, you can now choose between previewing the entire form or the particular question you have selected.

Clicking on Preview Form will start you at the beginning, just like before. Clicking on Preview Question will only show you that particular screen.

We just added View Count to make it easier to measure the performance of your mobile survey. Now you can see three metrics to help you gauge how you are doing.

One caveat, the number of views only started incrementing over the weekend. So this feature will benefit all of your future forms and surveys.

We built Funnel because we knew there was a better way to reach your employees and customers: in the moment. We got the chance to share our story with SmartPlanet:

If the video does not load/play, click here to watch it at SmartPlanet.

In the video we talk about why we created Funnel and explain how we uniquely approached this challenge. The video also features our friends from Back to the Roots who are using Funnel to hear from their customers who are buying their Mushroom Kits.

We’ll leave you with this awesome tweet by Tyler Willis:

Meet Funnel, mobile-optimized feedback surveys, the key point is getting to users “in the moment, when they can act.” http://awe.sm/5IqHXless than a minute ago via Timely App Favorite Retweet Reply

We’re making it easier for you to see the results from your mobile forms and surveys. Now when ever someone fills one out, you’ll see it in your inbox.

We enabled this feature for all forms on all accounts. If you want to disable it for a particular form, just go to “Edit” –> “Properties” and uncheck “Send email notification for each response”.


If you haven’t seen one of these yet, you probably will this year. It’s the QR code. Once used to track equipment parts, it has now made its way onto flyers, advertisements, and business cards.

What is a QR code?
It’s the barcode of the 21st century. It was invented in Japan by Toyota to store more information than a traditional barcode. Instead of 16 numbers, it can store thousands of characters.

What does it store?
If you see a QR code, it most likely stores a URL to a website or contact information.

Why are we seeing these now?
Because they make life easier. They are used heavily in Japan and South Korea to make accessing information from a mobile phone quicker. By scanning a QR code you can tell your phone to open up a website or save someone’s contact information.

How do I scan a QR code?
You use an app on your phone. If you have an iPhone, download an app like RedLaser, Scan, or Google Goggles. If you have an Android, you should already have the ZXing app already installed.

How can I create a QR code?
There are a few simple (free) tools online to help you create QR codes. Try tools like KaywaZXing Generator, and QR Code City.

I’m a business, why should I care?
In the battle for people’s attention, making it easier for your customer to connect with you is essential. QR codes make it easier for a person to use their smartphone to open up your brand’s website or get your email address.

What else should I know?
QR codes are incredibly powerful, but require some knowledge before you can use them. In countries like Japan, these square barcodes are so common that everyone knows how to use them. In the United States, there are a few barriers to adoption. The first is that QR code readers are not standard on phones, so people will have to go out of their way to download them. Second, many people are still unaware of what these codes are and what they do.

Want to learn more?
There is a good article on Wikipedia that is worth reading. Fast Company has a good article on different ways you can use QR codes.

We believe QR codes are important, so we’ve made it easy for you to create one for your mobile form. Once you create and publish a form within Funnel, just click on the Share tab.

Images from Flickr: Robert Scoble, JTGF, and netwalkerz_net.

The design of your survey is incredibly important in improving your response and completion rates. When you create a survey for a mobile device, you have to think differently.

Put yourself in your respondent’s shoes: they are on the go and they want to help you, but they don’t have much time. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes people make when creating a mobile survey.

1. Asking more than 10 questions
Stick to 10 Questions
Activities on a mobile phone are meant to be short and quick. Creating a survey with 40 questions is not ideal for a mobile device. We’ve found the magic number is between 6-10 questions. Any more than that, people start to drop off unless you have a worthwhile reward.

2. Relying too much on open ended text fields

Try your best to reduce the amount of typing a person has to do while taking your survey. Use open-ended text fields wisely. If you can ask the same question using Single Select, Multiple Select, or Mood Response then do it.

3. Long labels and instructions

The screen for a mobile phone is only 3.5 inches wide. The real estate is small and you need to think concise when coming up with your labels and instructions.

Follow these 3 rules and you’ll have a better designed survey. By focusing on 10 questions, using question types carefully, and being concise, you will have a higher chance of increasing your response and completion rate.

Today we just rolled out the ability to distribute your Funnel forms via SMS. We’ve given every account 10 free credits to try it out.

Sharing your form via SMS with Funnel is simple, all you have to do is:

  1. Create a form or survey
  2. Go to the Share tab
  3. Click Compose SMS Message

We will prompt you for the message and validate the numbers you are trying to send to. At this moment we only support numbers in the United States. Pricing for SMS is simple. It is $5 for 100 messaging credits.

Backbone is best known as a lightweight framework for creating JavaScript web applications, but there’s one aspect of Backbone that deserves particular attention: its simple syntax for class-based inheritance.

Note: When I mention the extend() function, I’m referring to Backbone’s self-propagating extend() (used for class inheritance), not to Underscore’s extend() (used to copy properties between objects).

For example, you can easily create a new model subclass by calling extend() on Backbone.Model and supplying the instance members:

var Person = Backbone.Model.extend({
    greet: function () {
        alert('Hello there!');
    }
});

The catch is that extend() is available only when you subclass one of a handful of Backbone classes: Model, View, Controller, or Collection. That’s a little disappointing if you want to create a class that doesn’t need the functionality provided by any of those classes.

Our solution was to create Toolbox.Base. Toolbox.Base borrows Backbone’s class inheritance code and exposes it as a simple primitive base class that can be used to create any kind of class we want. You can find Toolbox.Base on GitHub.

Let’s take a closer look at using Toolbox.Base.

Basic Usage

var Animal = Toolbox.Base.extend({
    constructor: function (name) {
        this._name = name;
    },
    sayName: function () {
        alert('Hi, my name is ' + this._name);
    }
});

var Lion = Animal.extend({
    constructor: function (name) {
        Lion.__super__.constructor.call(this, name);
        this._lionName = name + ', the lion';
    },
    roar: function () {
        alert(this._lionName + ' ROARS!!!');
    }
});

var george = new Lion('George');
george.sayName(); // displays: "Hi, my name is George"
george.roar(); // displays: "George, the lion ROARS!!!"

constructor Method
If provided, the constructor method will be used as the constructor function for the class. It will receive the arguments used to instantiate a new object. In the example above, new Lion('George') meant that Lion‘s constructor method received the name ‘George’ as its one and only argument.

__super__ Property
SomeClass.__super__ is a reference to the parent class prototype. It lets you access the original version of an overridden method without having to reference the parent class' actual name.

var FerociousLion = Lion.extend({
    sayName: function () {
        alert('Fear me!!!');
        FerociousLion.__super__.sayName.call(this);
    }
});
var charles = new FerociousLion('Charles');

// Will display 2 messages:
// "Fear me!!!"
// "Hi, my name is Charles"
charles.sayName();

Static Members
extend() also takes an optional second argument containing the static members that should be available on the class itself:

var TestClass = Toolbox.Base.extend({
    instanceMethod1: function () { ... },
    instanceMethod2: function () { ... }
}, {
    staticMethod1: function () {
        alert('First static method');
    },
    staticMethod2: function () { ... }
});

TestClass.staticMethod1(); // displays: "First static method"

Start Making Classes!
Whether you use our Toolbox.Base class (you can change the namespace or modify it however you want) or create your own (Backbone's internal ctor(), inherits(), and extend() functions are what you need), Backbone's class-inheritance abstraction should be a standard part of any JavaScript toolbox.

What is Funnel?

Funnel is the easiest way to create forms and surveys for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

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Funnel is designed and built by TapTheory