Say Hello to Dotty and Take Her Speed-Drying Survey

 

Hi, all! I'm thrilled to announce that Dotty Raleigh (aka @SugarDotCookies) is doing a pilot test of a potential new feature for the site called Sugar Dot Surveys. Basically, the idea is this: every other month, Dotty will ask you to complete a short survey about your use of a particular cookie decorating tool or ingredient, or about a certain business practice or decorating technique. Then, after collecting your input for two weeks, she'll analyze it and share a summary on our blog for everyone to review!

Any cookie issue - whether it be vanquishing craters or minimizing cookie spread - can be tackled in many different ways, with varying levels of success. Differences in geography, access to tools, and time or other resource constraints typically drive these different approaches, and often determine the best path for any given cookier. But, if you're just starting out or have limited experience with a particular technique or tool, it can be difficult to figure out which way to go. And, as we all know, it's never fun to learn the hard way! That being said, our overarching aim with Sugar Dot Surveys is to learn more from each others' experiences, and to identify industry-wide best practices that will help everyone make better business and decorating choices right off the bat.

Dotty's first survey is on the topic of speed-drying icing (meaning accelerating its drying through the use of various tools). The survey can be found here, and should only take a few minutes to fill out. Please complete it by December 2 so your input can be factored into Dotty's summary, targeted to release on December 28 after the Christmas rush is over. Please also share your feedback with us via the comments below, the private message feature on Cookie Connection, or email. Your reactions to this idea and involvement in the survey will determine how we move forward with this feature.

Now, onto Dotty! If you're not familiar with her work and online courses, you should be! Please check out her bio and social media links below, as well as our 2015 Cookier Close-up with her.

Dotty Raleigh Sugar Dot CookiesDotty Raleigh (aka @SugarDotCookies) is the owner of Sugar Dot Cookies. Her business began in 2013 with taking custom cookie orders, and has since grown to include teaching decorating classes and hosting cookie parties. Recently, she began teaching a series of online classes called "Cookies as Business" and providing business ebooks, which cover everything from finding the optimum shop location and workflow management to pricing and packaging cookies. Dotty loves sharing her years of experience and encouraging those just getting started in their own cookie businesses. You can also find Dotty on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credits: Dotty Raleigh

Again, to take the survey, just click here!

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This is a great idea. But I think the current survey needs some tweaking. Some answers are required, even when it doesn't make sense. For example, Q2 requires an answer, even if my selection in Q1 was 'Yes'. Q4 requires a selection, even if I had only 1 selection in Q3. etc...  As a software engineer and a GUI developer, I notice this kind of stuff.  

AnyaS posted:

This is a great idea. But I think the current survey needs some tweaking. Some answers are required, even when it doesn't make sense. For example, Q2 requires an answer, even if my selection in Q1 was 'Yes'. Q4 requires a selection, even if I had only 1 selection in Q3. etc...  As a software engineer and a GUI developer, I notice this kind of stuff.  

Thanks, @AnyaS. I agree with you - I worked in marketing research for 10 years so I also look closely at this stuff, and very much understand the need to make surveys as streamlined as possible to ensure high response/completion rates. Unfortunately, our survey system on this site is limited, as it requires each respondent to complete every question or it won't accept any of that person's results; it also does not allow for programmed skip sequences. So, as noted at the top of the survey (under "Additional Instructions"), we must, out of necessity, ask everyone to complete every question even if it is just with an "N/A". I apologize for the inconvenience, but this is the best we can do with the current survey system.

Julia M. Usher posted:
AnyaS posted:

This is a great idea. But I think the current survey needs some tweaking. Some answers are required, even when it doesn't make sense. For example, Q2 requires an answer, even if my selection in Q1 was 'Yes'. Q4 requires a selection, even if I had only 1 selection in Q3. etc...  As a software engineer and a GUI developer, I notice this kind of stuff.  

Thanks, @AnyaS. I agree with you - I worked in marketing research for 10 years so I also look closely at this stuff, and very much understand the need to make surveys as streamlined as possible to ensure high response/completion rates. Unfortunately, our survey system on this site is limited, as it requires each respondent to complete every question or it won't accept any of that person's results; it also does not allow for programmed skip sequences. So, as noted at the top of the survey (under "Additional Instructions"), we must, out of necessity, ask everyone to complete every question even if it is just with an "N/A". I apologize for the inconvenience, but this is the best we can do with the current survey system.

Oh my gosh, I somehow completely missed the "Additional Instructions" section. You're right, it is very clearly spelled out that I must fill out all questions. Now I just feel silly. Well, will pay more attention next time. 

AnyaS posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
AnyaS posted:

This is a great idea. But I think the current survey needs some tweaking. Some answers are required, even when it doesn't make sense. For example, Q2 requires an answer, even if my selection in Q1 was 'Yes'. Q4 requires a selection, even if I had only 1 selection in Q3. etc...  As a software engineer and a GUI developer, I notice this kind of stuff.  

Thanks, @AnyaS. I agree with you - I worked in marketing research for 10 years so I also look closely at this stuff, and very much understand the need to make surveys as streamlined as possible to ensure high response/completion rates. Unfortunately, our survey system on this site is limited, as it requires each respondent to complete every question or it won't accept any of that person's results; it also does not allow for programmed skip sequences. So, as noted at the top of the survey (under "Additional Instructions"), we must, out of necessity, ask everyone to complete every question even if it is just with an "N/A". I apologize for the inconvenience, but this is the best we can do with the current survey system.

Oh my gosh, I somehow completely missed the "Additional Instructions" section. You're right, it is very clearly spelled out that I must fill out all questions. Now I just feel silly. Well, will pay more attention next time. 

No worries. I have requests into my software development support to make the survey format more flexible in this way (to allow non-answers, skip patterns, etc.), but they only develop new features for free if many of their customers want the feature. Otherwise, they charge an arm and a leg, and this is nothing I can afford to fix right now . . . so we must live with it . . .

Julia M. Usher posted:
AnyaS posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
AnyaS posted:

This is a great idea. But I think the current survey needs some tweaking. Some answers are required, even when it doesn't make sense. For example, Q2 requires an answer, even if my selection in Q1 was 'Yes'. Q4 requires a selection, even if I had only 1 selection in Q3. etc...  As a software engineer and a GUI developer, I notice this kind of stuff.  

Thanks, @AnyaS. I agree with you - I worked in marketing research for 10 years so I also look closely at this stuff, and very much understand the need to make surveys as streamlined as possible to ensure high response/completion rates. Unfortunately, our survey system on this site is limited, as it requires each respondent to complete every question or it won't accept any of that person's results; it also does not allow for programmed skip sequences. So, as noted at the top of the survey (under "Additional Instructions"), we must, out of necessity, ask everyone to complete every question even if it is just with an "N/A". I apologize for the inconvenience, but this is the best we can do with the current survey system.

Oh my gosh, I somehow completely missed the "Additional Instructions" section. You're right, it is very clearly spelled out that I must fill out all questions. Now I just feel silly. Well, will pay more attention next time. 

No worries. I have requests into my software development support to make the survey format more flexible in this way (to allow non-answers, skip patterns, etc.), but they only develop new features for free if many of their customers want the feature. Otherwise, they charge an arm and a leg, and this is nothing I can afford to fix right now . . . so we must live with it . . .

And thanks for mentioning this, BTW. Because people may not see the survey instructions at the top, I added this reminder into the note under Q2, so people will be sure to answer "N/A" where they need to:

(IMPORTANT: If you answered "Yes" to Q1, please answer this question "N/A" for "not applicable". As noted above in the survey instructions, our survey software will not allow you to skip questions. You must answer every one, or the system won't accept any of your responses. So, if ANY question here does not apply to you, simply select "N/A" in multiple choice questions or write "N/A" in fill-in-the-blank questions. Thanks!)

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