Your study participants install and use the Psytools smart client software. This is designed specifically to provide a stable environment for your study's measures, and to reliably and securely handle the resultant data, returning it to our servers.
The Psytools smart client runs on the participant's computer, not on a web-page, minimising their dial-up costs. Tasks are downloaded once for all users of a machine before they are administered and can then be performed off-line. Internet congestion, connection failures or server failures do not disrupt the administration of your measure. This guarantees that all of your participants receive a uniform experience. Results are securely transmitted back to the server when an internet connection is available, and if the connection fails the Psytools smart client will try again at another time. In the case of child participants, parents can leave their children to perform tasks off-line, and connect to the internet later themselves to return the data. This ensures that parents have control over their children's internet usage.
Psytools is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including PCs running Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh computers running Mac OS X. The Psytools smart client is immune to problems caused by different web browsers and setup on your participants' computers, and runs on even basic computers.
Your entire study can be distributed to your subjects over the internet, by mailing out a CD, or by a combination of both. By using CD distribution the time your participants spend online is reduced even further since all of your measures can be distributed along with the Psytools smart client. In this case only a few seconds online are required to return results. This form of distribution also allows the administration of very large or media-intensive tasks that are less suitable for internet distribution to participants with slow connections.
The task delivery system built into Psytools is highly flexible. It has been built from the ground up to support a very wide range of tasks and questionnaire styles. The examples which you find in the demonstration represent just a fraction of the possible measures that can be incorporated into a study using Psytools.
The Psytools server provides a central location from which to manage the measures sent out to the Psytools smart clients on your participants' computers, and a secure repository for all of your data.
With the Psytools server managing the administration of your study, you can add and assign new tasks with ease, track the status of your study, and quickly get the latest results. A common format for all of your raw data means a common set of tools and methods can be used to perform data processing on all items in your study.
The Psytools server is built on a stable Linux platform, and uses industry standard database and application server software. Your data is safe, whilst your study remains available day in day out. Communication between the Psytools smart client and server is done over secure channels, using the same technology that protects on-line banking. Additionally we perform daily backups of your data.
The smart client design and scalability of the software architecture means that Psytools can expand the scope of your study however large it is, from just a few tens of participants right up to large epidemiological studies involving tens or even hundreds of thousands of participants.