Add custom font to survey solutions interviewer app and add more line space between lines in question text

Proposal

we would like to propose to create a new feature which allows users to upload fonts to the server and interviewer app. Right now survey solutions have limited , pre- installed fonts available. Even if we used a different font in the translation file, it would automatically change back to the default font (MV Boli) when uploading the file.
Secondly, we propose to add more line space between lines. Currently in survey solutions when we use “Dhivehi Font”(Maldivian Language) it presents us with the issue of characters not being displayed fully. Sound characters associated with the Maldivian alphabet, are not being displayed fully.

Affected subsystems

The above mentioned feature may affect the tester, Interviewer, HQ and Designer simultaneously. But the change would be minimal to the functionality of these subsystems.

Users

-Here in the Maldives Bureau of Statistics, since 2017 we have been using survey solutions to conduct CAPI surveys and we always use our native language (Dhivehi) during enumeration.
-One common problem throughout the surveys conducted so far would be the issue with the readability of Dhivehi Font available in SuSo. Currently SuSo has the default font for Dhivehi language (MV Boli). “MV Boli” font is out-dated and no longer used in official writings or even in unofficial writings. The problem with “MV Boli” is that it is difficult for users to read and sound characters associated with the letters, are not being displayed fully. Therefore, it presents more problems with the readability.

Surveys

This feature is of significant importance for the upcoming Census of Maldives which is to be held in September 2022 , due to the sheer number of users who would be involved directly in enumeration.
We have the pretest of Census in November 2021. So we would like to see the feature integrated as soon as possible.
This feature would be very useful for all our future surveys.
Likely so, it would help any other user groups around the world, who might have encountered same or similar problems.

Alternatives

A possible alternative and an immediate solution could be that (SuSo team could install our choice of font (Faruma) and make it available for use within the survey solutions.

Currently, we do not have an alternative. we just use the available default font (MV Boli) in our translation files.

Market examples

CS Pro has got the feature to change field font and change default text font available
https://www2.census.gov/software/cspro/documentation/cspro75.pdf#page=167&zoom=100,48,0

What is the effect of this feature?

This would improve the readability of the question text and therefore, and have a positive impact on the conversation between respondent and interviewer hence it could contribute to the speed of interviewing process and ultimately contributing to quality and accuracy of data collected .

Compatibility

With the inclusion of this new feature, only the text font would be affected in all components of survey solutions.

Applicability

It can greatly help to all users of Survey Solutions in Maldives (And any other user group who might have similar or same issues)

Does it make sense?

It does make sense and is a much needed feature which could help greatly improve our surveys.Font

Limits

No identified conflicts may occur due to the integration of the new feature to add custom fonts and increasing line space between lines in question text.

When Survey Solutions imports a translated text it imports the contents only. Any font setting in Excel is meaningless for it and is disregarded. So any references to MV Boli and/or Faruma are relevant for the system processing Excel files with translations, but not the Survey Solutions itself.

For example, Thaana letter ZAA will be recorded in the Excel file as two bytes 07 9C and this is what Survey Solutions will store. It will then try to render a character with that code on the tablet. Some tablets may refuse to display it at all, see the note here: Which languages can be used in Survey Solutions questionnaires?

You may try to google installing custom fonts on the tablet/replacing system fonts if this is an issue. There are numerous third party recommendations that I’ve encountered, but their effectiveness is unknown to me.

How was the above determined?

  1. Do you experience the problem with Thaana characters only when entering Thaana in the translation file (Excel) or ALSO when the characters entered directly in the Designer tool (as the main language)?

  2. What does your screenshot show in the ‘Does it make sense’ section? It looks neither as Interviewer App nor the Supervisor App.

Out of curiosity, how are fonts handled in Survey Solutions? Does Interviewer simply draw from those available on the tablet?

Since there are ways to inject HTML into question text, would it be possible to either specify fonts or import web fonts via CSS? I know this is not an existing feature. I wonder if it could become a feature. And if it can become a feature, I wonder if it would help with readability issues in other languages than English.

And if we open up CSS in any way, I would love to be able to have the ability to create style classes as suggested here. This could be used for fonts as well–say, if one wants different fonts applied to different parts of question text (e.g., question text versus instructions).

was unaware of the unicode system used in SuSo and since the displayed font in interviewer app is always “MV Boli” regardless of any Dhivehi Font we used in translation file, assumed that SuSo does not recognize any other fonts.
Thanks for the clarification.

  1. We never use Thaana characters directly in the Designer tool. But always in excel translation file.

  2. It was wrote in an excel file and snipped (did not had the interviewer app at my disposal at the time). It was done just to show the difference between the appearance of two fonts (MV Boli and Faruma).

This is declared in the link I’ve shared earlier.

How is this established? (Survey Solutions does not install the “MV Boli” font).

It appears that the MV Boli font has incorrect measurements for letters causing the elements of the characters to be disregarded when rendered (if the height of the row showing text in MV Boli was autodetermined by Excel).

Following up on this feature.This is how Dhivehi text appears now:

I cannot visually determine, which font is being used. (I also have no idea what the text says, the exact sentence was taken from StackOverflow, please do let me know if it contains anything that is not appropriate or is objectionable.)

I don’t see any problem with screen layout of the text. In particular no need to make the line gaps any wider. Native speakers may contribute.

Well, please, do try.

Based on the last clarification of @shafeeu_17 , the problem is more with the Excel, rather than the Survey Solutions application itself.

The following article contains screenshots and a link to the [public] demo questionnaire showcasing various fonts. It is missing Thanaa/Dhivehi because it is not supported by Google Translate. If you could translate literally the following “This is a test of text display in another language.” to Dhivehi,
we can expand that example to include that as well. (that is an RTL language, right?).

I doubt that, but perhaps, I am wrong. Let’s be more specific:

  • Does CSEntry CSPro Data Entry for Android (this app) provide a possibility to utilize any font that I specify in their Designer?? From which set?
  • How is the font transmitted to the tablet?
  • Can you/anyone show an example of that actually happening? Let’s take, for example:
    • Times New Roman for Q1,
    • Wingdings for options of Q2, and
    • Consolas for text of Q3.
      Please share the screenshot of the CSEntry on Android OS showing all the three questions with the different fonts at the same time; a link to the project file and compiled data entry app would be great too.

Yes, it is a RTL language.

Translation of “This is a test of text display in another language.” to Dhivehi:
“.މިއީ އެހެން ބަހަކުން ޓެކްސްޓް ޑިސްޕްލޭގެ ޓެސްޓެކެވެ”

The line gaps appear fine in this example (It probably depends on the device being used). But still the font is difficult to read compared with “Faruma” font, which is widely used in formal and informal writings in Maldives. The spacing between the letter and sound characters is too tight.