Talking Tech Friday – Vizu

One thing librarians love to do is take surveys and polls. Most of us know about Survey Monkey, which is useful for taking a web-based survey, but what about one-question polls?

Vizu is a free web service that allows you to create polls and embed them on your site. Let’s try it out!

Again, like most web services, you have to create an account. Something I like here is that they only request a username and password – I didn’t have to provide my real name or any other personal information except an email address, and I have an address I mostly use for things like this so my personal email doesn’t get too cluttered. (that’s a little tip for those of you who might be experimenting with web services – create a free email account at Hotmail or Yahoo and only use it for these types of accounts).

Creating a poll seems to be pretty simple – just type in your question, and provide possible answers. It defaults to 2 answers, but you can add more if you want. You can also choose to make the poll public or require a password.

For the next step, you can identify some categories and keywords, if you want people to be able to search for your poll. Most importantly, though, you can set a time limit on the poll.

Step 3 allows you to add pictures and links to customize the appearance of your poll.

And finally, you can link to your poll on the Vizu site, email it, or embed it in your website. To get the code for embedding, you choose “Export Your Poll.” At this point, you have many options for the colors and size of the poll widget. Then you just copy and paste the generated code to your website. One caveat, however, that I’ve discovered when posting this entry, is that Vizu is not compatible with the WordPress blogging platform. From what I’ve read, it does work with most other platforms, as well as MySpace, Facebook, and Blogger. Here is a link to the poll I created, and I’ll post the embedded poll on my other blog.

You can view your poll results back on the Vizu Website – they provide a Google map that lists the locations of voters, and you can create a chart to tabulate the results.

I’ve set this poll to close next Friday – after that, I’ll post the results as a demonstration.

Vizu also offers a Power Polls service for more powerful polling. They say it’s free until December 31, 2007, if you want to try it out. It seems to me, though, that the free service would be perfectly adequate for most library purposes.

Library Uses:
I think there are a lot of possible uses for a quick poll, for both internal and external purposes. You can poll your colleagues to gather opinions on some new procedure or service, poll your users for a variety of reasons (including just for fun questions), link to a poll to evaluate an instruction session (a pre- or post- test). Additionally, I always like web tools that generate code that can be placed on a website or blog.

I know there are other free web poll sites out there – anyone have any favorites that they use?

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~ by Anali on December 14, 2007.

One Response to “Talking Tech Friday – Vizu”

  1. Hi Anali, We have something like it on our Teen page. It’s a rotating one question poll that gives the poll results after you vote. then it puts up a different question. I think there are 3 rotating each day.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org/blaze/default.jsp?N=0

    Scroll to the bottom and look to the right column to see today’s poll. Which would be the coolest gift to get this Christmas? I was surprised to see the answer.

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