Updated SurveyStack Layout and UI
June 17, 2024

SurveyStack is going through some major updates over the next 2 months, funded through OpenTEAM over the last 8 months (thanks OpenTEAM!!!). We’ll have a blog post each week or two showing what’s new and what’s next, and this is the first one.

NOTE — You won’t see these changes on surveystack.io yet! They are only available on the staging server. If you want to help us beta test these features, email us at admin@our-sci.net.


Over the last two years we’ve been actively learning from our users through stakeholder meetings, needs assessments, and individual communications with partners (some links to earlier work, more recent work). Based on that work, the 30,000 foot view is we need to…

  1. Update the core navigation through SurveyStack (which is very very confusing!)
    • We’re moving to a group-focused design more similar to Gitlab, Github, or Discord. A group is where you keep your surveys, responses, scripts, and question sets, manage your stuff, and invite your partners.
  2. Make SurveyStack and its features more intuitive and accessible.
  3. Make it easy to know what’s shared and what’s private and more privacy options.

What’s new

Quick walk through of what’s new!

The resulting features and fixes from those calls are laid out here in gitlab issue. This work is ongoing but the big parts are done! In our first release, here are the changes.

Group-focused navigation

You are always either looking at your groups, or located inside a group. When navigating inside group you can be confident you are seeing the surveys, scripts, and question sets you actually want. You can also be sure you’re submitting responses to the group you intended.

Left: existing UI when you arrive to the site
Right: updated UI, showing your groups + subgroups and the ability to create a new group
Left: existing UI to search for surveys
Right: new UI, showing surveys only in your group. Also shows most important surveys, existing drafts, and quick links to all group resources in the left sidebar.

Get to where you need more quickly and intuitively

See and move between your groups with the new left side group navigation bar.

Access all your group’s stuff quickly and easily from the sidebar, no matter what you’re working on.

What’s Next

We hope to complete (1) and (2) by next week, along with feedback from our testing group. Then we can move to the larger items on our list in this list in the section “Priority before release to Production”. In short, they are:

  • Making drafts work offline and be available on the server
  • Better support (walkthrough modals) when creating new Surveys, Question Sets, Scripts, and Groups.
  • Create a global “Explore”. Allows search across groups
  • Clarify a users rights and roles so finding and using public Surveys and Scripts is clear, with accurate options and clear descriptions of what is public or private.

🐛 Known Bugs

  • The “Groups” pages search bar doesn’t search the full database (so searching in “All Groups” requires hunting right now :\)
  • Anyone can update a script, even outside of the group where the script is located.
  • You can’t delete drafts
  • Pinned surveys don’t pin (pin = always show in the left sidebar)
  • And of course many small UI bugs / imperfections.