Screencast of Zoho Polls

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Molly McDonald has created a nice screencast of Zoho Polls. You can find the screencast on her blog post on Zoho Polls below:

http://demogirl.com/2007/07/10/zoho-polls-just-one-of-many-online-apps-from-zoho/

Zoho has an office suite of web based applications that seems to be growing every time I go back to the site. For some reason I never noticed Zoho Polls way down at the bottom of their homepage. It was released in April of last year but is so easy to use I thought I’d give you a quick look. Here’s my screencast tour of Zoho Polls:

Flash Demo 2m30s

Thank you Molly !

MIT Technology Review writes about Zoho

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Richard Brandt at MIT Technology Review has an article on Zoho titled “Can Zoho beat Google?“. From the article :

Zoho has become a prolific designer of online software tools, releasing at least one new product every month for more than a year. It boasts 15 product offerings so far, including a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation tool, a Wiki, a project manager, a customer-relationship management (CRM) tool, a database, and a project-planning tool. Bloggers who have tried the software say it’s more robust than online applications offered by Google, and it offers better collaboration capabilities (for example, it lets multiple people work on a document simultaneously or sync spreadsheets with remote data from websites) than products from Microsoft. Zoho’s fans see it as the model for a new generation of Web-based applications that could displace expensive software sold by Microsoft.

Zoho is the suite to beat. A Gartner report released on March 12 placed Zoho at the top of its list of “Cool Vendors in Web 2.0,” five companies that offer “a glimpse into the future of enterprise innovations.” Says Gartner analyst Nick Gall, “Zoho is ahead in the user community and in the technology.”

Thanks to Richard Brandt & MIT! In other news, The Social Computing Magazine has a write-up on Zoho Notebook titled “Zoho Notebook: One-Stop Business Collaboration Tool“. And in a blog post on Zoho Notebook at weblogg-ed, Melinda Miller has this to say about Zoho Polls in the comments :

I really like zoho polls. One of my 4th grade teachers used it in class one time so now I use it all the time with my staff. We voted on our theme for next year, planning for next year’s holiday party, and staff shirt preferences. Here is a link to my school blog with the zoho poll embeded.

In a post titled “CRM on the Cheap“, Davey Moyers writes,

Looking for an inexpensive, robust CRM program? Why not check out Zoho CRM. The price is right, free for three users. I have been giving this system a test drive, and there’s power under the hood. Full CRM functionality. It lacks mobile capability or offline use, but otherwise this is a solid player for the individual sales rep or small team. It also boast Outlook synchronization that is as good as the competitors in this space. The features I especially find appealing are lead management, opportunity management, and sales quotes…. I spent four years using salesforce.com on a daily basis, and I would pit this program against salesforce.com in all categories save one. Offline and mobile are not yet offered. However, the print templates on Zoho are much better than salesforce.com. So you plan it, print it, execute it. Whatever “it” is.

Amit Agarwal has a nice post explaining how to embed Zoho Sheet’s charts in one’s blog. Zoho Chat’s shoutbox feature (embedding a chat window in your website) has been put to good use by a community named Cerebrals Hens Network. Cool background options, guys! And our recent REST API release got noted by Thomas Willingham & Go To India Web 2.0.

Thanks, one & all :-)

Sorting of poll results in Zoho Polls

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The sorting of poll results feature is provided in Zoho Polls. It applies to both vote polls and rate polls. You can sort the results based on votes in vote polls, rating in rate polls and you can also sort based on items. To restore back to the default view, click on the default view icon provided just below the hide link. Screenshots are provided for your reference.

Default view of poll result,

Shown is sample for the sorted view of poll result based on rating.

Range Voting using Zoho Polls

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One of our users of Zoho Polls has created this wonderful poll to demonstrate Range Voting.

http://zohopolls.com/brokenladder/2008-u-s-presidential-election-poll-using

We used to call it a rating poll, which is a type of range voting. From the above poll, we came to know about range voting and got introduced to rangevoting.org, the Center for Range Voting (CRV). Its goals are to educate the public about the advantages of range voting and comparative disadvantages of other systems and to lobby for its adoption.

We have always felt that range voting is the best approach to arrive at a general consensus. We have ourselves used this rating approach to decide on home page designs, song selection for performances, rating the food, deciding on the name of a product / service that we are building, etc.

As per the description of the poll featured above:

This mock election should help gain insight into the 2008 U.S. Presidential race, as well as demonstrate the superiority of Range Voting to other voting methods.

Rate any candidates you want to. You can just ignore any candidate that you don’t care about, or don’t know enough about to vote on; your non-vote simply won’t affect that candidate. The candidate with the highest average rating wins. Simple, huh?!

Finally, notice something interesting about this election? We’re running several candidates, giving voters real choice. With Range Voting, you don’t get the kind of Perot/Nader spoiler effect, where voting for a “third party” candidate effectively works as a vote for your least favorite candidate. That’s a quality that you won’t find in other alternative voting methods, like instant runoff voting.

That is the power of range voting. You get to rate each item in the poll and the one with the highest average rating wins. This will be inline with the general consensus of the voters. Visit rangevoting.org for more details.

That said, the normal voting / plurality voting poll is also useful in different scenarios. The type of poll basically depends on your need.

Here is a pie chart which depicts the percentage split-up of voting and rating polls created by the users of Zoho Polls. Even though the number of rating polls is less than voting polls, 37% is still a very good number.

Poll types usage in Zoho Polls - http://zohosheet.com
Chart powered by zohosheet.com

We are also discussing with rangevoting.org and betterpolls.com, another poll service, on how we can work together for the improvement of the service.

Featured Zoho User – Barry Dahl

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There are so many of you users out there who use Zoho in your day-to-day life and on your blogs/websites. We will be featuring some of you out here. Featured today is Barry Dahl (his other blog). Barry is the VP of Technology & Virtual Campus at Lake Superior College (LSC), Duluth, Minnesota, USA & he is an extensive user of various Zoho services.

In a blog post where he gives the new PSOL (Priorities Survey for Online Learners) results, Barry embeds charts created with Zoho Sheet. He also has a presentation made using Zoho Show titled “Opening Duty Day at LSC” which deals with appropriate use of computers & LSC Networks. Some of his blog posts use Zoho Show as well. His document titled ‘Duty Day Workshop – Free Web Tools‘ is on Zoho Writer. And he has a blog post with an embedded Zoho Poll. Barry, is that it or are you using any other Zoho service? :-)

If you are an extensive user of multiple Zoho services, please do write to us (update : you can mail to aravind[at]zoho[dot]com). We will feature you here.

Latest Features for Zoho Polls

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Zoho Polls has come up with an update in which some new features have been added and performance issues fixed. The major features are listed below:

RSS feed is provided for the following:

  • Latest Polls
  • Comments for a specific poll
  • Public polls of a specific user
  • Public polls with specific tags
  • Public polls using search

Subscribe using RSS feed readers like Feed Reader, Thunderbird, Bloglines etc.

The owner of the poll has the permission to close or reopen a poll. When a poll is closed, further voting of users is not possible.

Making of Zoho Polls

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We launched Zoho Polls last week. Let me share how Zoho Polls happened. It was just started as a fun project and is completely the work of just 1 person, Godwin.

We use an internal web application to rate the daily lunch food served and track the satisfaction levels. So each of us will rate the overall quality and the individual menu items after having our lunch. Comments on the food can also be added. The daily feedback and the overall trend would be monitored by the concerned people. So this is a simple application to track the quality of food based on user feedback. There were some limitations like it is a generic, static menu from the database.

Then we had a requirement for our music band to select songs to perform at our company-wide function. So we just took the codebase of our food application and stripped down some functionality like the daily rating and trend. Added entries directly in the database for the selected songs. Then the band members were asked to rate each song so that they can prioritize and rehearse the top numbers.Then we decided why not have a generic tool for rating where anyone can create a poll and fill out the options and send it across to the team for rating. There were many uses for this service like:

  • Rating the various designs of the Zoho logo
  • Rating different UI prototypes for a specific screen (Sample)
  • Rating the next set of features that should go into a product to help prioritize

We then added the ability to vote too – the normal one where you need to select only one option in the poll. There are a lot more uses for this like:

  • Selecting a name for the product
  • Choosing a restaurant to dine (treat!)
  • Predicting who will win the elections

Thus Zoho Polls was born. If you want to make a decision or get other’s opinion just create a public / private poll and share it with your friends or embed it on your website / blog so that your visitors can participate in the poll.

Thanks Godwin for rolling out Zoho Polls.

http://zohopolls.com