My friend and fellow adventurer Irene Dubois—not her real name of course—recently came home from a psychiatric appointment needing a way to track her daily mood. She tested several smartphone apps designed for this purpose, but found them too inflexible. Consequently, she asked me to create a custom mood tracker for her. The design requirements were easy: the program must be accessible via smartphone, and must ask specific questions copied from her doctor’s psychological assessment questionnaire.
After reading the questions, I concluded that Irene needed an HTML form containing Likert items for each question, which she could fill out using her smartphone’s web browser. I then decided that the quickest way to produce such a form was to deploy a survey-generating web application (LimeSurvey) that will set up the required HTML with minimal fuss. She would then fill the form out once per day, thereby creating the desired mood record.
The questionnaire we created with LimeSurvey looks like:
LimeSurvey is a free PHP-based web application that eases online survey creation and deployment. It differs from SurveyMonkey in that users must host the application from their own web server, in much the same way many bloggers host their own WordPress instance. Users must also deploy their own database for the LimeSurvey instance to store survey design and responses in—we used MySQL in this case.
The application’s survey editing page proved really straightforward to use:
Users can then export survey results from the same interface, e.g.:
From this CSV we can build the desired charts, e.g.: