eCapture started life as a bridge between traditional paper-based consumer research surveys and the capabilities offered by modern mobile devices. With our first iteration of this project we took the paper-based surveys that the operators were used to, rendered as an image and then overlaid form inputs over it. So on a tablet it felt very similar to doing the survey on paper - just a bit quicker and with the obvious benefit of elmininating the manual capture step from paper.

The system then evolved into having its own interface for questions. At the time, jQuery Mobile was the right choice for mobile-first pure web applications - with its Apple-ish look and behaviour and combined with the html5 Application Cache (now deprecated in favour of Progressive Web Apps) we were able to offer a native-feeling web app without the overhead of app store deployment, which everyone who has worked on native mobile apps knows can be quite a pain when you need to get a desperately needed feature or bugfix out quick. Using a combination of the appCache and localStorage the operators are able to conduct a whole day of surveys out in the field without needing to be online.

Its Bootstrap backend was a Bootstrap Admin interface that had been restyled to fit the client’s brand. Using components like DataTables we made a complex backend for staff to set up and manage multi-page surveys with quotas, logical routing, file/image uploads, geolocation, time-keeping, and reporting. Admin users could control whether surveys should be uploaded incrementally when internet connection was available.

The system also expanded to be used for what we termed public surveys, which required no log in and were done directly by survey subject themselves.

eCapture is an active project.