Program Authoring Tutorial

The image below shows the parts of the authoring screen. The different sections on this screen are numbered in a logical sequence. Each numbered section is described below. Use the Table of Contents above to jump to each section.

Authoring is started from the Program dashboard by clicking the "Author" button that will start a new program or by selecting "edit" from the menu icon to modify an existing program.

Programs can be created for certified audits, general assessments, checklists, procedures that require data collection and permanent record retention, knowledge capture for training, testing, inspections, risk assessments, and structured decision making.

1 Add Sections and Questions

When you start a new program the Question area (Area 3 in the image above) is blank.

Click + Section to add a section. Provide a name for the section.

Click on a section to add questions to that section. Click + Question to add a new question.


2 Section Management

Click on a section to work with the questions for that section.

The three buttons next to the active section are used to rename the section, add visibility rules, or delete the section.

An introduction section can be added to share information about the program, display version information, or other key information such as the source standards or regulations that the program is based on. This information not only informs the user but also informs those who read the generated reports.

A scope section can be added to obtain information about an assessment. Examples:

Select the Type of Assessment. (Full, Partial, Initial, Annual), or
Does the property have swimming pools or hot tubs? (Yes, No)

These questions can then be used to set visibility logic rules that hide questions or entire sections. It also informs those who read the report.


3 Question Details

Here the question is entered. Below the question, a "Tip" can be added. This text helps the user answer the question. The tip does not appear on the report.

The Type field is used to specify what type of answer is expected. The types are:

  • Multiple Choice - Pick one answer from a list such as Yes,No,N/A or Red,Blue,Green,Yellow.
  • All that apply - Choose more than one of the specified choices.
  • Number - Any number. Min and max values and units can be specified.
  • Text - such as name, date, address, document Id
  • Information - This type does not expect an answer. It is used to provide information to the user or explain what the next set of questions is about.
  • Memo - This is similar to "text" except it allows for long responses and allows newlines. In a future release, basic formatting will be provided.
  • Checklist - A checklist is similar to All-that-apply. it is used when all of the items in the list are expected to be checked off such as a list of requirements in an audit, or a list of steps in a procedure.

The Choices and other fields are described below on the topic of scoring and the topic of references


3.1 Scoring

The scoring and Choice options vary depending on the type of question. A multiple-choice question type is used in the example image on the right. The answer choices are separated using commas.

The Default is a dropdown list where a default answer can be selected. Having the default selected can speed up the assessor's process. If the application is a multiple choice quiz having default answers would not be desired.

Correct specifies the correct answer. Multiple-choice questions have an additional option called "graduated" as seen in the lower image and described below.

Weight is used for the score calculation. Questions can have different weights. For an assessment, this can be based on the amount of harm an issue would cause and the probability of an issue occurring. For a quiz, it might be based on the importance or complexity of the question.

Selecting (graduated) activates the percentage/correct options. In this example, "Full" and "Sufficient" are considered correct and a percentage of the weight is applied to the score for four of the answers.

Exclude from scoring and correctness does what it says. Notice in the image that "N/A" is not in the graduated scoring list. When an excluded answer such as N/A is selected the scoring is not affected as if the question was not asked. Note: A future version will provide a dropdown list for the Exclude field.



3.2 References

References provide additional information. The image on the right is from a Food Safety Modernization Act assessment based on the FDA's regulations known as 21 CFR 117. Each reference is linked to the specific regulation text on

The Link and Add buttons are used to either link an existing reference to the question or add a new reference and link it to the question.

When adding a reference the reference name, note, URL (internet address), and label can be added. References do not have to have a URL, note, or label, but a name is required.
  • A reference with only a name can act as a tag or label on a question such as Criminal Violation, Misdemeanor, Sanitation, Management Responsibility.
  • A reference with a name and a note provides more information on the screen.
  • By adding a URL, the reference can link to any information on the Internet including websites, PDF, videos, spreadsheets, etc.
  • The label is used for filtering to locate references during authoring. In the image on the right, the reference with the label "facility" is shown.

In the image at the top, the reference for 21 CFR 117.20(b)(6) is shown linked to the question. The trash can icon will unlink the reference and clicking on the reference will allow the reference content to be edited.



4 Question Management

These buttons are used to:

  • Hand icon - Move a question within the section by dragging and dropping the hand icon.
  • Eye icon - Set a visibility logic rule on a question. If there is a slash through the eye icon there are no visibility rules set for that question.
  • Trash-can icon - Delete a Question


4.1 Visibility

Visibility is a term used to describe logic rules. These rules are used to skip questions and entire sections based on answers to other questions. For instance, answering "No" to the question "Does the apartment building have a swimming pool?" can be used to hide questions or an entire section about a swimming pool.

In the image on the right, the top line is the question that the rule applies to. At first, the rule area is blank until a condition or a group is added. In this image one condition has already been added and each of the parameters has been set.

There are two options to consider when using multiple conditions or groups:

  • all conditions are met - This is an "and" operator. It means that conditions 1, 2, 3, and ... all must be true.
  • any condition is met - This is an "or" operator. It means that one or more of conditions 1, 2, 3, or ... must be true.

For each condition, a question is selected. In this example the question selected is "Do you use/import raw materials..., The "equals" operator is selected and the answer "Yes" is selected.

Whenever the visibility rule is true this question will be displayed.

The different types of questions utilize different operator options. Groups are used for complex visibility rules such as:
IF(A equals Yes OR (A equals No AND (B = 24 OR C > 12))).

To save and reuse a visibility template enter a template name and click Save as Template. The saved visibility template buttons appear on the main authoring screen.


5 Templates

To save and reuse the questions options, default value, correct answer, scoring weight, exclude values, and graduate scoring parameters click the Save Template button and provide a name for the template.

To apply the saved information to a question click the template name.

In this example, three templates have been saved for a correct answer of Yes with a score weight of 1, 2, or 3. The fourth template is a visibility template that is saved in the visibility dialog screen.

To delete a template click the trash-can icon


6 Program Testing

The Clear button in a red warning color is used to delete the answers, observations, attachments, and other information that has been entered into the program during testing. Warning: The clear button currently does not have an "Are you sure" confirmation.

The Test button starts the assessment or other type of program in a new browser tab. Then the program can be tested for looks and functionality.

The Report button opens a report in a new browser tab to see how the report will look. The report will display the program information and all of the answers and other information entered during the program testing.

Any changes made to a program are instantly reflected in the test application and report, and information entered in the test application is instantly reflected in the report.

With a large screen or multiple screens, all three phases of an assessment (authoring, assessment, report) can be seen at the same time as seen in the image on the right. Click to enlarge the image. It is really easy to switch between tabs.

The list icon jumps to the Program dashboard and the "?" mark icon displays this tutorial file.