The Polling Engine application runs the polls that you have created with Poll Designer. PollMaker allows you to specify several options when running your polls. These options are designed to offer you added flexibility and aid you in debugging your polls. PollMaker also provides the convenience of four different methods for launching a poll, and once a poll is running, gives you the ability to quickly and easily stop that poll at any time. Once a poll is launched, the Polling Engine will run that poll indefinitely until either a block-out time is reached (see Manage Polls) or the poll operator explicitly stops the poll.


Poll Options when Running a Poll

When you start a poll, the Polling Engine displays the Poll Options dialog box (figure 1). In this dialog box, you select any poll options that you want applied to the poll while it runs. These options allow you to influence how the poll runs during this polling session.

Figure 1:  Polling Engine - Poll Options Dialog Box

The poll options include:

  • Run in Demo Mode - the poll will run as designed, but none of the respondent data will be saved.
  • No Timer - any maximum or minimum response times (see Control Poll Navigation) that were set for the screens in this poll will not be enforced.
  • No Sound - any sounds that were designed to play during the course of this poll will not be played.
  • Log Branching Logic - as the poll runs, all branching logic (see Add Branching Logic) values will be written to a log file.
  • Debug Mode - as the poll runs, all debugging information will be written to a log file.

In addition, if you run a poll from the command-line (see "Starting Polls from the Command-Line" below), you can specify two additional poll options:

  • Iterate:<nTimes> - the poll will run the number of times specified in the <nTimes> arguement and then shut down.
  • No Block - any block-out times that were set for the poll will not be enforced.

Any combination of these options can be specified when running a poll. Therefore, if you wish to run your poll three times in debug mode with no sounds played, you have the flexibility to do it. When you set poll options they do not apply to the poll permanently. Each time you launch a poll you have the opportunity to specify poll options that will apply until the poll is explicitly stopped by the poll operator.


Starting Polls from the Polling Engine

A poll can be launched from within the Poll Engine itself. When you start the Polling Engine, the Select Poll dialog box displays all of the polls currently installed on the PC (figure 2). To start a poll, you select the poll in this dialog and click the "OK" button.

Figure 2:  Polling Engine - Select Poll Dialog

The Polling Engine then displays the Poll Options dialog box (figure 1) which allows you to specify any options that you wish to apply to the poll as it runs.


Starting Polls from the Command-Line

A poll can be launched directly from the command-line in Windows. When using this method to launch a poll, the name of the poll and any poll options that you wish to apply to the poll are specified on the command-line. With the use of the command-line, you can create short-cuts on your Windows desktop to launch frequently used polls. Since these short-cuts can include all of the poll options that you wish to apply, launching your poll is as simple as double-clicking the short-cut icon on your desktop. Your poll launches directly without having to specify the same poll options every time.


Starting Polls from Poll Manager

If you have Poll Manager installed on a kiosk in addition to the Polling Engine, you can launch your polls from the Poll Manager Quick Pick screen (figure 3). You select the poll that you wish to run in the window and click the "Launch" button. The Polling Engine displays the Poll Options dialog box (figure 1), which allows you to set any poll options for this poll, and then launches the poll.

Poll Manager Quick Pick Screen
Figure 3: Poll Manager Quick Pick Screen


Starting Polls from Poll Designer

When you are creating a new poll or changing an existing poll, you often want to run the poll to view the changes that you have made. To accomodate this need, Poll Designer provides the ability to launch a poll directly from the Poll Designer Main Screen (figure 4). When you have a poll open in Poll Designer, you can launch that poll by selecting the Preview feature from the "Poll" menu or the toolbar. When you launch a poll from Poll Designer, you do not have the option of setting any poll options. By default the poll runs with the "No Timer" poll option set so that minimum and maximum response times (see Control Poll Navigation) do not interfere with your testing of the poll.

Figure 4: Poll Designer Main Screen showing the Poll Menu


Stopping Polls

When a poll is running on a kiosk, you have the ability to stop that poll at any time by providing the Console Touch Code for that kiosk. The Console Touch Code is a four digit sequence where each digit corresponds to a quadrant of the screen as follows:

<<diagram of screen quadrants>>

Therefore, a Console Touch Code of 2-4-3-2 would be entered by touching the screen (if the kiosk uses a touch-screen) or clicking the mouse in the following sequence: one in the upper-right quadrant (2), once in the lower-right quadrant (4), once in the lower-left quadrant (3) and one more time in the upper-right quadrant (2). A Console Touch Code can be entered at any time when a poll is running, even if the kiosk is currently in the midst of a poll.

Figure 5: The Operator Console

Once this code has been provided, the Operator Console is displayed (figure 5) which provides you with the following options:

Activate Screen Saver Activates the PollMaker Screen Saver (see Manage Polls) until someone touches the screen, moves the mouse or presses a key on the keyboard (depending on input devices used at the kiosk).
Reports Allows the operator to run a report against data for the current poll.
Poll Manager Shuts down the Polling Engine, stopping the current poll, and launches Poll Manager.
Re-start Poll Starts a new session of the same poll.
Quick Tally Displays a count of respondents that have taken the current poll since the poll was last launched on this kiosk.
Shut Down Shuts down the Polling Engine, stopping the current poll.


Return to Poll Management and Execution.



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