5.7.2 Adding media in form responses
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In addition to text questions or responses, it is possible to add pictures and audio recordings inside the form. The idea is to bring more clarity for both the enumerators and respondants in certain contexts or regarding specific aspects of a topic.
Here are a few examples where the use of media can be pertinent:
Pictures of different water treatment solutions (water and sanitation surveys)
Smileys symbols (e.g. when interviewing children)
Adding an audio recording in a question or a note (e.g. reminder of key expressions such as the definition of a household, the list of symptoms of a disease, etc.). The audio can be run by the interviewer only if needed as a reminder and would use much less space than a long text definition.
These are only examples. There are many more situations where the use of media in a survey can be relevant. Visual can be much more effective than words, especially in context where the level of education is limited.
Adding medias to your form requires handling XLSForm format. If you started to create your form with the online form builder, you want to export it to be able to modify the form and add media files: Click on your form > click on the “More Actions” button (symbol “…”) > Download XLS
You can find here a video tutorial on How to Add an Image to your KoBoToolbox Form (it is likely the same procedure for audio or video type of media). In addition, here is the KoBoToolbox tutorial Adding Various Types of Media (image, audio, video) to a Form.
Once you have the XLSForm file, open it and create the questions where you want to add medias to.
To add pictures related to the label of a question > add a new column labelled “media::image” in the “survey” sheet
To add pictures for the responses of a question (e.g. when there is a list of responses to pick from) > add a new column labelled “media::image” in the “choices” sheet
- To add an audio recording, the procedure is similar > add a new column labelled “media::audio” in the appropriate sheet (“survey” and/or “choices”)
- Once the column(s) is(are) added, you need to fill up the cells with the name of the corresponding media file (not the path where the file is, only its name, such as “aquatab.jpg”).
Make sure that the name is the same (spelling AND case) as the actual filename otherwise the picture won’t appear. E.g. “aquatab.jpg” is different from “aquatab.JPG” or “Aquatab.jpg”.
Once finished and saved, upload the XLS file into KoBoToolbox (through the homepage upload or by updating your previous project):
Make sure that you Deploy it.
Go to the Deployed section, select the form and click on “Settings” to display the advanced menu.
Upload the corresponding files as shown below (Settings > Media > Add document > Choose files). Make sure to click on “Upload” to import the files. You can import more than one file at a time.
Once your files have been uploaded, check that they are all listed:
Click on Save Changes and in the “Form” tab, click on Redeploy so that the survey is updated, and media files are considered in the process next time you run the survey.
Before downloading and testing the finalized form in your external device, you can perform a first check online to ensure that the media files are properly inserted: go to the FORM tab > Under “Collect data, click OPEN
If the media is not displayed (and you see the icon below), you should:
- make sure that the expected media is in the list of uploaded media
- make sure that the spelling and letter case in the XLSForm is exactly the same as the filename (including the file extension).
- It is possible to display the media files without the label (by removing the text in the label column of your XLSForm).
- Before uploading images as media files, you may want to check that they have the same size if they are part of the same question.
- Video can also be included in a form (by creating a column media::video in your XLSForm) but it is not recommended due to the probable heavy size of video files.
- It is indeed advisable to use small media files or compressed format (e.g. jpg) whenever possible to make their transfer onto the phones easier when the internet is not ideal.
- Remember than adding medias will require a larger internet bandwidth which may not be available in the field. Make sure that it is relevant.
- To avoid any issue, it is recommended to use short media filenames that don’t include any special character or space.
- The following media type can be uploaded in a form:
- Audio: mp3, wav
- Image: png, jpg
- Video: mp4, mov
- When exporting an XLSForm from KoBoToolbox, the media files won’t be downloaded automatically. They must be downloaded manually (from the same menu where they are uploaded: SETTINGS menu > MEDIA > Existing Form files > Download). See this tutorial to know how to add output image to an Excel File.