September 3, 2010

In the Spotlight – Wildlife Disease News Digest Survey Results

The Survey Results Are In!
Applying What We Learned to Improve Your Digest

Screenshot of Digest Customer Survey
Earlier this summer with the help of the USGS, the NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node conducted a customer satisfaction survey of its email subscribers. Over 650 readers were invited to participate; however, this is only a segment of the Digest readership. Due to limited time and resources, the survey did not include users who only view the Digest at the website (90 visits/day), or users who have subscribed to the RSS feed (over 900) as their main way of receiving the news.

The complete report summary is available here. Unfortunately, the participation level was not as high as we had hoped, leaving the survey open to potential bias.  Nevertheless, we feel we can infer some general trends from the results and have developed a plan to improve the Digest from the great feedback we were given. Thank you to those who took the time to provide input!

Survey Result Highlights
Survey result that indicates readers often recommend the Digest to others.
The overall response was positive. Readers appear to be happy with the Digest, and find it professionally and personally useful. Of those who participated, 88% responded that they would recommend the Digest to others, which turns out to be the most common way readers discover it. Please continue letting others know about the Digest and how useful it is for staying abreast of wildlife disease related issues.

Answers to how frequently sections of the Digest are used 
Of those surveyed, 77% regularly view the Digest and use it most often to skim or read articles. Less frequently, they shared articles with others or were motivated by an article to pursue more information. When asked which sections of the Digest readers regularly used, we found the sections 'Top Stories' and 'Other Wildlife Disease Related News' were used frequently. The weekly selection of publications was also used often, but not as regularly. Resource links found on the right-hand column of the Digest website were accessed from occasionally to rarely.

According to the survey, 90% of readers felt the number of stories offered in the Digest were just the right number, and those stories met the reader’s needs frequently to always.

Improving the Digest

In the near future, you will be seeing some differences in the Digest. Based on the results of the survey, here are the changes we are considering.


Remove sections that are not being used – To enable us to focus more time on finding news and journal articles specifically related to wildlife disease, we chose to reduce or completely discontinue support for sections and features that are not being used regularly, which will include:
  • Discontinue ‘It Ain’t All Bad’
  • Discontinue ‘That’s Interesting’
  • Discontinue icons that indicate the story includes video, podcast or audio
  • Reduce news items that are not text-based (e.g. videos)
  • Discontinue Top Read Links from Last Week
Increase the international news coverage – There was an expressed desire to see more international news in the Digest. In attempt to meet this need, the following actions will be taken:
  • Harness the talents of willing readers and develop a system for submitting translated news reports from non-English speaking countries
  • Explore translation technology
  • When appropriate, have the story selection process prioritize non-English reports
Explore adding information about grant/job opportunities – A number of comments requested this kind of information, so we will investigate the time and resources that would be required.

Add geographical information to news headings – To help the geographically minded, where appropriate, news titles will include a text-based geo-reference, even if the article is not indexed for the Disease Map. This will help our Digest skimmers deduce if a story looks interesting enough to open and read.
    Investigate making a clearer feed – For those who simply want to skim headlines without the distractions of images and lengthy text, we are looking for a way to create a simpler feed.

      Create a fact sheet/handout – Because most readers have learned about the Digest through colleagues, we will explore creating a short fact sheet that can be printed by readers to distribute at their next conference or workshop.
        Digest Website

        Create a frequently asked questions page – Within the open comments section on the survey, a range of questions were raised. This FAQ page on the Digest website will be used as a place to address readers’ questions.

        Relocate resource links in right-hand column – To simplify appearances, where possible, rarely used resources will be relocated to another web page.

        Create a ‘Contact Us’ page – In order to address the survey results (about 40% surveyed did not know how to contact us with their questions or comments) we will develop a separate webpage on the Digest to make it easier for our readers to find us.

          Let Us Know What You Think

          If you did not participate in the survey and would like to share your feedback and/or suggestions, please email us at In addition, we encourage all readers to contact us to let us know what you think of our plans to improve the Digest. Whether you oppose or support the proposed changes, we would like to hear your thoughts!