Survey Systems Blog

OMR Form Design...Let's Get Graphic!

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jan 3, 2014 12:59:00 PM

Custom Scan Form Design

Go for the Sharpest Image on Your Survey Form

One of the best ways to give your survey form a polished, professional look is by adding a logo or other graphic image. When adding a logo or graphic, it is very important to use the right kind and quality of image. A fuzzy, low resolution image will produce the opposite result, giving your form an unprofessional look and feel.  

Join the Resolution Revolution!

The quality of graphic images depends on the image resolution, or the number of dots per inch (dpi). The more "dots" the better the image quality, so it is important to start with an image with more dots per inch. Resizing or scaling your graphic image will likely degrade the quality appearance of your logo or graphic.  

Survey Form Printing      Scan Form Design      OMR Form Printing

As you can see from the examples above, these images get fuzzier as they are enlarged. You can always zoom in on the image on your computer screen to get a better idea of the quality of your image. (An easy way to do this is to hold the Control Key down on your keyboard and hit the "+" key several times. To zoom out, hold down the Control Key and hit the "-"symbol.) If an image looks fuzzy when you zoom in, chances are it will look fuzzy when inserted onto a printed form.

OMR Form Printing–What Graphics Format Works?

If you are creating your own OMR survey form using a software such as Data Blocks Magenta or Scantron's DesignExpert™, you can add images or logos to your design as long as the image is in a bitmap image format. In the printing industry, there are two basic types of graphic images. The first type is a bitmap, also known as a "raster" image. A bitmap could be one of many file types (.bmp, .jpeg, .gif, etc.) Bitmap images are:

  • Made up of pixels in a grid. Tiny dots of color come together to form the image. When you zoom in on a bitmap image, you can see the dots as squares of color hooked together.

  • Always square or rectangular. If your logo is an oval shape, it will be an oval within a rectangular frame when it is in bitmap image format.

  • A solid block of color (or white). No part of a bitmap image is transparent or see through. For printing purposes, a bitmap cannot be color separated. This means it must be printed in one color (i.e., all black, all red) or converted to grayscale. 

The other format of graphic image used in the print industry is a vector image. A vector image is made up of individual shapes and/or text. Each shape in a vector image can be edited independently. A vector format image will usually have an .eps file extension. Vector images are:

  • Made up of individual elements, such as shapes, lines and text. Each element can be edited by without affecting other elements.

  • Can be any shape or size and is not resolution dependent. This format of graphic is always very sharp looking and is not confined to a rectangular shape.

  • Most important from a printer's perspective, a vector or .eps image can be color separated for printing. Elements can be assigned exact and multiple colors.

  • Vector images can be converted to bitmap format for use on web surveys or for use in form design software.

Click here to see examples of a graphic in different formats.

 

Getting Graphic–Summing it Up

In my opinion, a bad or fuzzy graphic image should never appear on your form! Only add images that are high quality and that enhance the appearance and effectiveness of the document. Most OMR form design software has severe limitations when it comes to adding good quality graphics to the forms you design. Always use the highest resolution graphic image you can get your hands on. For even better results, have your OMR form printing company help. A printing professional can use graphics software to really make your survey form sing! 

OMR Form Design, Form Printing, Scantron Forms

Topics: scan form design, customized survey form, OMR printing, form design software

Paper Survey Forms - Not Dead Yet!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Sep 24, 2013 8:32:00 AM

While not as widely used as they once were, mail and other paper surveys as scannable machine-readable forms still provide, in many cases, a reliable and cost-effective means of data collection. Thanks to online technology and some other factors, mail and paper surveys are used less frequently today than they were previously. Paper based surveys, however, still have their place in survey research and always will. Nevertheless, continued advances in online survey technology may increasingly diminish the demand.

Benefits of using paper surveys

·         Mail surveys are convenient for respondents; they can complete them when and where they prefer

·         Easily inserted into other customer or marketing mailing

·         With customization, some people feel paper surveys offer a more personal approach

·         Bulk-rate postage, automated mail preparation, large-quantity printing, and printing paper are all relatively affordable for document distribution with direct mailing services

·         Provide an efficient and often the only way of targeting opinions from populations without internet access, email addresses or phone numbers, or who refuse to respond to other types of surveys

·         Easily distributed to customers post transaction such as hotel or restaurant visits,  training seminars, conferences, etc.

·         Allow those being surveyed the chance to think about their answers in their own time

Designing, printing and processing machine readable paper surveys

Designing, producing and processing paper surveys have evolved and users of these types of survey instruments have a variety of different options available. Companies such as Scantron, Survey Systems, Data Blocks, etc. provide software applications that enable users to design and print their surveys as customized machine-readable documents. The surveys can be designed to be read by the traditional OMR (optical mark recognition), Scantron type devices or off-the-shelf image scanners which most organizations own. These software applications also create scanning templates; information passed to the scanning devices that determine respondents' choices to quantitative questions. Some of these software products also capture images of respondent free hand comments to subjective questions as well.

Machine-readable customize scan form survey–OMR technology versus Image technology

The major difference between a customized scannable survey designed for one technology or the other technology is the amount of content (survey questions, responses, demographics, etc.) that can be accommodated on a standard sheet of paper. The following are images of surveys designed based on the type of scanning technology that will be used to read these machine-readable forms:

 

survey documents

 

As seen in the examples shown above, a survey document designed for OMR scanning can accommodate a much larger amount of information on a smaller sheet of paper and still be accurately read during the scanning process using OMR scanners.

WHAT SURVEY SYSTEMS CAN DO FOR YOU?

Researchers, analysts, social scientists and individuals involved in gathering data, analyzing, reporting and making recommendations like most people have a fixed amount of time that they can devote to any given survey project. Survey Systems can offer these individuals a wide range of different products and services that would enable them 100% control of the entire data collection process or to selectively use Survey Systems to provide various levels of services.

One of the decisions that would need to be made is the type of technology (OMR or Image) that would best fit the requirements of the project. In most cases, this decision is tied directly to the amount of information individuals are looking to collect. Simple surveys (small number of questions, responses, etc.) without dense demographic fields (i.e. membership ID numbers, dates, vital statistics, etc.) can best be addressed with surveys designed for image scanning. Surveys requiring large demographic fields (machine-readable name and address fields, ID numbers, etc.) are best served using surveys designed for OMR scanning.

Software Option

Survey Systems provides and supports software products that address both technologies; the Magenta Suite is based on OMR technology and the Concord Suite is based on image technology. Both of these products will allow individuals to control the entire process from survey design through production, scanning and data transmission. In some situations and depending on a survey project requirements, data can also be tabulated and various types of anaylsis reports created within both the Magenta and Concord applications.

Service Option

Another decision is your level of involvement in the entire survey process. Using your input on survey content, Survey Systems can design the document for either type of scanning, print the survey, distribute the surveys, process completed surveys, send you scanned results or tabulate scanned data into reports that meet your specifications. A detailed description of each of these service components associated with most survey projects can be provided upon receipt of the project specifications.

Summary

Paper survey documents will continue to have a place within the survey industry on many data collection projects that do not, for a variety of reasons, lend themselves to online or other forms of electronic data collection. Survey Systems can help you define and implement a paper based survey program that will meet your objectives in the most cost effective manner.

 

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Topics: OMR customized form, custom scan form, survey form, customized survey form