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New REDCap features enhance surveys and display on mobile devices, among other improvements

Published: February 6th, 2017

Category: Uncategorized

A new version of REDCap scheduled for release on Feb. 20, 2017 will include several exciting new features and improvements to existing features, including

  • Enhanced radio buttons and checkboxes for surveys
  • Auto-suggestion of variables names when typing in calculations and branching logic
  • The ability to create custom Public Survey URLs
  • A more responsive user interface to conform to and fit screens on devices of all sizes

You can expect a downtime for REDCap from 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 while the CTS-IT team completes the upgrade from version 6.11.5 to 6.18.0.  Full descriptions of these new and improved features follow:

New features, improvements and action tags coming to REDCap in Version 6.18.0:

New features

  • Field Name (Variable) Auto-Suggest When Typing Branching Logic, Calculations, or General Conditional Logic(Survey Queue, Automated Survey Invitation, Data Quality rule, report filter’s advanced logic). While typing logic/calculations into the text box, it will auto-suggest a REDCap variable name from your project that is clickable to inject into the text box. If the project is longitudinal, it will also suggest event names to inject unique event names.
  • Real-time Validator for Branching Logic, Calculations, or General Conditional Logic(Survey Queue, Automated Survey Invitations) that allows you to run your logic/calculation on a specific record in the project, and it returns the result. For example, if typing branching logic in the Add/Edit Branching Logic popup in the Online Designer, you can select a record, and it will tell you if the field will be displayed or hidden for that record based upon the record’s currently saved values. When typing calculations, it will return the actually calculated value of the field for a selected record. This makes it easier to formulate your logic and calculations so that you get them right the first time.
  • Data Dictionary Snapshot – Users can now click a button on the Online Designer page to create a snapshot of their instruments that gets stored on the Project Revision History Additionally, a data dictionary snapshot is also created automatically whenever a data dictionary is uploaded on the Data Dictionary Upload page or via the API metadata import.
  • Preview Email– When composing survey invitations (e.g., the Participant List, Automated Survey Invitations set up), there is now a ‘Preview’ option for viewing the fully-rendered HTML preview of the email that is being composed. Additionally, there is an option to send a test email to oneself in case they want to actually receive a copy the email being composed before officially sending it to others.
  • Custom Event Labels – Custom Event Labels can now be optionally added for any event in a longitudinal project when adding/editing events on the Define My Events These custom labels can be used for piping data from a given event into the event’s table header on the Record Home Page (i.e., Event Grid). For example, if each event represents a single visit of a person, then if you are collecting the date in a field called ‘visit_date’ on each event, then you can set the Custom Event Label as ‘[visit_date]’ for all those visit events. This will provide useful context for each event when viewing all the events of the record. You can also get more advanced with the piping by using multiple fields and even static text. For example, ‘[visit_date], [weight] lbs’.
  • Enhanced Radio Buttons and Checkboxes for Surveys – A new survey option “enhanced radio buttons and checkboxes” can be found on the Survey Settings page in the Online Designer in which a user can enable the feature so that radio buttons and checkboxes are displayed differently on the survey page, in which they appear as large animated buttons that look more modern and stylish than traditional radios and checkboxes. This new feature can be enabled for any given survey in a project where it will transform all radios and checkboxes on the survey into the enhanced version. Note: This feature does not work for radios and checkboxes in a matrix.
  • Create a Custom Public Survey Link – On the Public Survey Link page in a project that utilizes surveys, users now have the option to create their own custom public survey link that begins with “http://is.gd” (e.g., http://is.gd/diabeticsurvey), in which the custom URL will simply redirect to the public survey in their project. They may enter a desired URL, and it will check if the URL has already been taken. If not, it will store that custom URL in the project so that it is always able to be obtained on the Public Survey Link
  • Responsive Design of REDCap Web Pages – REDCap now has a more flexible and responsive user interface to conform to and fit screens on devices of all sizes. A major improvement for how surveys and data entry forms look on mobile devices (i.e., phones), including automatic font increase and forced left-alignment of questions for better user experience when screen real estate is limited.

New Action Tags

  • @PLACEHOLDER– Is used to specify a short hint that describes the expected value of a Text field or Notes field (e.g. a sample value or a short description of the expected format). The placeholder is displayed inside the field before a value is entered. This action tag is compatible with all browsers, including Internet Explorer 8 and 9.
  • @USERNAME – Sets a field’s value to the username of the current REDCap user. If this is used on a survey, the value will be “[survey respondent]”. Once the value is captured, it will not be changed when visiting the page at a later time.
  • @HIDEBUTTON – Hides the ‘Now’ or ‘Today’ button that is typically displayed to the right of date, time, and date/time fields.
  • @DEFAULT – This action tag allows a field to have a specified default value when viewing the field on a survey or data entry form that has not yet had any data saved for it (i.e., when the form status icon is gray or when a survey has not been started)

New Improvements

  • Making Post-Production Changes – When reviewing drafted changes in a production project, it now provides a “Compare” button for multiple choice fields that have a change in one or more choices. Clicking the button opens a popup with a table displaying each choice on a row and noting if the choice is Unchanged, Altered, Added, or Removed. Additionally, it also displays how many records have a saved value for the given choice. This will help when reviewing draft changes when in production status. Additionally, when reviewing drafted changes in a production project, if any fields are being deleted and those fields contain data, it will note how many records will be affected for each field deleted.
  • User Access Dashboard – The UAD now only shows projects with more than one user.
  • “Help & FAQ” pageContains new and updated content and has better navigation and is easier to read.
  • Multiple Page Views – Data entry forms will now behave slightly differently when two users are accessing the same record-event-form in the same project. In previous versions, it would completely prevent a user from viewing the form if another user (excluding super users) were already viewing it. However, this has been changed so that it will allow the user to view the form at the same time as another user, but it will make the form read-only/disabled if another user is already viewing it. This is an improvement since it actually lets the user view the form and its data, whereas previously they could not even view it.
  • Locking Forms – The “lock all forms” and “unlock all forms” links that appear near the bottom of the Record Home Page (formerly known as the “Event Grid”) in longitudinal projects have now been replaced with an “Actions” drop-down higher up on the page above the table of events. In this way, users can still perform the same actions as before but by choosing an option in the drop-down near the top rather than clicking the links that used to exist near the bottom.
  • Slider Fields Can be Displayed as Verticalby setting their Custom Alignment to right-vertical (RV) or left-vertical (LV).
  • File Upload Size Limits – The current 16MB file upload size limit will now be 32 MB. This will allow for larger sized files to be uploaded using the File Upload (for users to upload files) and Descriptive Text (with optional Image/Video/Audio/File Attachment) field types.