A powerful feature used universally by commercial and academic to verify data collection and survey quality. The simulator allows the generation of automated web bots to pass through the survey as if they were respondents. The web bots perform all the same actions as a respondent would such as clicking elements and completing text fields. They, of course, do this randomly.
From a system perspective, the webbots are indistinguishable from respondents, and are therefore useful to generatetest data and stress test custom functionality prior to fieldwork. The webbots can be configured how they randomly select elements and fill out fields from their preset pick lists.
This means that the simulations can pick up more that just logic problems as;
- they generate realistic,but random data
- they follow links and logic branches like respondents
- and they interact with the page as as a respondent including any custom coding errors
By default 100 bots are set. Clicking the start will begin the bots filling out your survey, by default 10 at a time. During execution you can step into the bots browser to see what fields are being selected and if the bots are getting stuck
A problem that sometimes occurs with bot simulations is getting stuck at difficult validations. Typically this is postcodes or quantities or email addresses on open questions. As the bot is a randomly selecting agent, it cannot know what is valid and what not. For these situation there are 2 solutions
1. Make a copy of the survey and remove all validation or
2. Place a selection of valid entry values in the picklist and some of the bots will get through the validation by chance