We are very proud of the questfox development in speech. It is possible to record someones voice and to transcribe what the person said into text.
With more than 120 languages integrated, we are perhaps the leading tool for this kind of feature in market research.
As more and more users were saving thousands of answers on our servers we constantly discussed this feature set for security and performance reasons.
Saving Audio and Video Files outside of questfox
The idea of questfox speech tools is to receive the content said as a transcribed text. On top of this procedure questfox allows to save the recorded voices. The default setting for recording audio is OFF. So you need to switch ON this feature if you want to use it and later listen to the audio files.
To record the audio files you can switch the answer settings of an audio question type to ON.
The multimedia files used to be saved independently from the answers on the questfox server in a special folder structure.
In this setting we could not prevent that project admins of a project space could listen to the audios of other projects in the same project space.
In projects with thousands of audio files we had to admit, that performance of data handling in gigabytes became an issue in the browser. With the new approach this is over. You can decide where to save your data and you will have much quicker access as you can use your established tools to work with these multimedia files.
Security by Design with SFTP
Multimedia Files are now saved on the client’s side via SFTP
We now changed this forever and fulfill an important demand of our clients who always ask: Where is the data stored? From now on the answer will always be the same: The multimedia files are saved in your own security environment and not be in connection with the rest of the survey.
The recorded answer can be saved in your own environment and therefore out of everyone’s reach, using questfox. This is a major improvement in the field of data security as the multimedia data is now stored on the client’s side.
Important Notice: Make sure, that you have a user’s allowance to record his or her voice or video before saving this very personal information somewhere on the internet. This was a requirement before this new technology was implemented and still needs to be respected.
questfox is not responsible for your behavior and not reliable for your actions with our software. So please take data protection issues serious – especially in this very delicate field.
How to integrate your SFTP Server into questfox
Under CREATE – Projects Settings you will find a place to integrate your SFTP Settings.
Your password will never show-up in questfox and cannot be copied from the data input file.
When pressing the Connection Test button you should receive the following message when all input data is correct.
questfox settings for optional audio recording on your own SFTP Server
Organize your data following your needs
The data can be organized by three different settings: Question, Calendar Week or Participant. We advise you to do this only once per project to avoid confusion in the data structure.
Default is the organisation by question. Saving a single file would create a folder called “questfox” on your SFTP Server with a subfolder carrying the project ID and more subfolders named Q1 .. Qn with your multimedia data.
If you wish to organize the folder structure differently you can switch to “Order by Calender Week” and see the result later as “44-2020” which is the 44th week of the year 2020.
If you plan to look at the answers of one person you can organize the folder structure by “Participant”. questfox would create one folder for each individual and ad the answers to one question in this folder organized by question number (here Q1 and Q2).
And by the way: We updated to the most recent versions of transcription services. So the overall quality should become always better.
We wish you all the best with this new security feature which gives you the full power to manage sensitive data on your side. The flexibility of this approach will be important for complex projects.
FLAC – Free Lossless Audio Codec
In order to be independent from any kind of manufacturer we opted for the FLAC Codec to save in perfect nearly lossless quality.
For understanding this codec better we recommend this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC
In case your Audio-Tool is not able to play this data we recommend the VNC Player which can be used entirely free of charge. Download available here: https://en.vlc.de/
We are very excited to announce the integration of an application programming interface (API) inside of questions. questfox is partnering with audEERING and their emotion analysis engine based on speech analytics. questfox is now offering a permanent link to the incredible innovative audio analytics tool from audEERING (Munich).
Some questfox users already have access to a new question type called Speech2Text Voice Analysis. The question type is available for some users under Multimedia Insights.
The question type is basically a speaking answer question type (with all the restrictions still in practice*), where the transcript is generated based on the audio file. On top of this functionality, the audiofile is sent via API to audEERING to the check for emotional patterns in the voice answer. Within seconds questfox is able to receive the answer in the form of numbers assigned to different emotional states of a person. These values are saved inside the question type and kept in the background for export or other purposes. For example they can be used right away used for different actions during the live Interview. The values are exported alongside other data in the export file.
At the moment we are still testing the performance of the integrated API inside a survey tool. After additional tests runs, this emotional tracking opportunity will allow totally different kinds of research.
This new function is not included in the standard questfox software package as it causes additional cost anytime it is used. After a defined testing time we will define the pricing for this fabulous new feature set. Little by little we will create templates of ideas how to use emotional tracking in the interview process. We are also looking forward to see our users fantastic ideas come to life with this new set of opportunities.
We are looking forward to see new forms of research with the integration of the cognitive API inside the survey tool questfox. There may be more cognitive services connected to questfox in the future. We strongly believe in the power of expert knowledge from different fields of expertise. We will continue developing new standards in the world of interviewing as our field of expertise. The new technology allows us to connect several best-in-class approaches in one tool. The innovative tool allowing this open world of connected intelligence is still questfox.
*Restrictions when using voice type questions inside of questfox.
Years ago we made the decision not to develop an app for questfox as this would restrict our users around the world. We still believe that the effort needed for users to download an install an app for market research hardly pays off. This is why we opted for an open approach based on internet browser technologies. The negative side of this is that even in 2019 it is difficult to get voice answers from a series of browsers who do not allow the usage of a microphone in a browser. The biggest obstacle here still is Apple who does not allow to use a microphone in a browser situation on their devices. We strongly recommend a technology funnel in your suvey filtering out the users of iOS and some outdated browsers like Internet Explorer. Good news: Even Microsoft got the message right and the new version of Microsoft Edge is able to work with microphone. We know that it will still take years before 100% of a population can be researched with this approach. For the time being we have to live with the 70% of users who can actually be interviewed with this technology.
An indicator whether this is possible can be found here https://caniuse.com/#search=mediastream
questfox is fully into Speech.
In order to learn more about the quality of the transcriptions possible, we integrated a new speech type with the only job to check for the quality of the audio transcript. The new question type is available under “Multimedia Insights” with the label “Speech2Text Quality Score”.
Integrating the speech-to-text Quality Score allows you to use a simple test for the quality of the audio transcription. The result is the score comes out between zero (no quality) and 1 (perfect quality). The higher the score, the better the quality of the transcript. Before using live transcription in an interview situation, we recommend to have at least 0.7 in quality or above.
If the quality score falls below 0.5, we recommend to not use Audio transcription features in your project. Reason for a bad score could be the overall sound environment of the recording situation or the poor expression quality of the speech of an individual.
By using questlogix, you can steer a participant through the interview by not allowing voice functionalities in the interview situation.
At the moment we recommend to save the quality score along with the data to learn more about your respondents and their technical setting. Looking at the potential base of users being able to use speech on their device, more than seventy percent of the worldwide internet population should technically be available to participate in such a voice study. But in reality the feasibility of speech technology falls way behind those wishful numbers. Integrating the quality score will help you understand your speech in research opportunities better.
By the way: we do not record whatever people say under this quality score question. You can change the sample sentence that people should use in this question type into whatever you would like to.
You can also use the outcome as a variable in the ongoing interview by showing the score or using it as a trigger for a questlogix.
Explanation to better understand the Transcription Confidence Score
|above 0,9||very good||just go on with your project|
|0,8 – 0,9||good||no need do change anything|
|0,7 – 0,8||acceptable||reduce background noise|
|0,6 – 0,7||usable with caution||check microphone|
|0,5 – 0,6||not acceptable||re-position microphone/person|
|0 – 0,5||very bad||do not use AUDIO functionality|
How to download the original audio or video files from questfox?
This post is only valid for the data captured until October 2020. Since November 2020 we will no longer store multimedia files on our servers. Read the details on how to connect your project with your own SFTP client here: https://questfox.wordpress.com/2020/11/01/clients-sftp-server-integration-for-audio-files/
questfox allows you to record audio and video files. Usually these are immediately transcribed and saved as text, but there is also the option to save the spoken word or recorded video as a multimedia file on the questfox server.
It should be noted that the use of multimedia recordings generates huge amounts of data that go far beyond what is common in market research. A 10 second video usually generates more data than the survey of 1000 people answered by click and text.
Of all types of recording, automatic transcripts are saved as text. But it will always be necessary to hear or view the files in their original format. This memo explains how to do this with the questfox Filemanager.
Each page created in the questfox with audio or video files is saved in its own folder, which contains the name of the project in coded form. Within a folder there are then the respective pages in the continuous numbering. So if an audio file is saved on page 5, then it can be found in the folder Q5. The file folders are only created with the first saved Multimedia element. If you still change the folder structure in the running project, even though audio data has already been received, a little caution is required, as questfox always writes into the current folder.
From the folders you can download the files individually or collectively. While this is comparatively easy with audio data, special considerations have to be made especially for video files. Overall, the question is whether the amount of data is too large to be downloaded in a browser session download. Almost every browser lets you down in case of hundreds of megabytes. For these cases, we offer a separate access to the files, which is realized with a kind of FTP tool. For the vast majority of users, the download is readily possible.
So here’s the way to the audio data of your project:
At the top level, select the Project Space and select the File Manager
Click on the folder “Survey Uploads”
There select the project. To do so one must know the questionnaire ID, which is assigned to the folder. The survey ID is the code that can be found behind the questfox link in the project overview (in the red box BID = CODE OF THE SURVEY).
In questfox File Manager there is then a separate folder per ID.
When opening this folder, various folders may be displayed, each of which may contain audio or video data. The arrangement is in the numerical order of the questionnaire.
With a right mouse click you can open the menu and save the data first as Zip and then right click on Download to download it to your device as ZIP. Please note that you must have the appropriate permits from the people who you recorded before using the data in a different context.
If there is little data, usually a whole project can be downloaded at once. With extensive data, there are sometimes difficulties with videos here. In these cases, we offer direct access to these folders via our own tool (similar to ftp). Ask your questfox partner about this feature,
Attention: The data can be so extensive that the browser session does not allow the download and stops without error message.
The file names themselves are coded and contain an indication of the format at the end. Voice stands for voice files. Video for motion picture files.
Depending on the source device different formats are written. questfox currently has the ability to encode in .ogg and .webm.
If you have difficulty playing the files, we recommend the VLC Player, which handles more than just the proprietary formats of some producers. Download at https://www.vlc.de/
In the hope of enabling new ways of voice and video interviews. Good luck with the new survey options inside of questfox.
Pretty soon there will be an update allowing you to take care of your upload folder on your side. We will offer the option to use your personal SFTP Server.
Update November 2020: This is how you connect to SFTP: https://questfox.wordpress.com/2020/11/01/clients-sftp-server-integration-for-audio-files/
“Das Pferd frisst keinen Gurkensalat.”
Translation: “The horse does not eat cucumber salad.”
This is the first sentence ever spoken in telecommunications as used by the German inventor Philipp Reis, who invented the phone call years before Graham Bell had the idea patented and became world famous.
Reis called his invention “Telephon” which later became the international name for something we use on a daily basis.
Voice interaction is going new ways. We are always trying to change the market research game and are very proud to present the first pure digital speech interaction in market research powered by questfox.
The new questfox feature of Text2Speech lets you create speaking questionnaires. Any text implemented is read out loud to the respondent by an artificial voice. Together with our already developed Voice question type functions we are looking forward to see complete questionnaires without ever using text anymore.
We are not yet there, but this is an attack on the classic telephone interview. We are not only looking for the reduction of cost when developing such an approach, but we are also trying to create interviews of higher quality because of the standardization of the spoken interview.
A big plus is the opportunity to use questlogix and analytic tools in the background. A fully functional digital voice interview would outperform the classic approach by far. It is faster, of higher quality and definitively cheaper.
To honor Philipp Reis, the courageous German inventor, we invite you to test these functions under the hashtag #Gurkensalat. Let us see, what this technology brings.
At the moment we start doing our testing in the German language only. English is soon to follow with the opportunity to select different voices.
The questfox development team proudly announces the completion of the Multimedia Insights toolbox. New features in the world of asking questions are available in questfox. Apart from clicks and sliders, we are developing new forms of interactions with still & moving pictures and additional voice features.
The new “Multimedia Insights” toolbox offers 5 different question types which are supposed to trigger the willigness to answer based on new interaction formats. It is supposed to work browser based without application installed. The only thing you need is a modern browser supporting the use of a microfone or a camera.
The following features can now be selected inside of questfox:
The idea of our development comes from a pop song: Ain’t no stopping us now.