Setting up the notifications plan requires defining the notification content (a title, message, and study URL) and deciding on the schedule. It is recommended to keep the title and message shorter than 30 characters each (including spaces) to make them compatible with all potential devices and screen sizes. The title can contain the study’s name (e.g., “Study of life quality”) or the name of its current phase (“Life quality study – Day 1”). The message can include an instruction or what is expected from the participant, e.g., “Please complete a 1-minute survey”. Another strategy is placing a survey question in the notification title or message.

The URL link may contain the participant’s ID: the placeholder “%PARTICIPANT_CODE%” inside the weblink will be replaced with each user’s Samply ID (e.g., https://examplesurvey.com/?id=%PARTICIPANT_CODE%). This can be used to track survey participation if the URL query parameters are captured and saved in the survey.

If the user interface is followed step-by-step, a few choices have to be made in order to define the notifications schedule.

  1. Choose participants

    Notifications can be sent either to all current and future participants or to a particular participant chosen from the menu under “Current participants”.
  2. Choose time(s)

    A specific time point or time points can be selected by entering the hour and minute in the input field. Alternatively, a time window can be defined (e.g., from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), during which a time point or time points can be randomly drawn. If numerous participants are selected, notification times will be randomized for each one.
  3. Choose date(s)

    A specific date can be selected in the format of day, month, and year. Alternatively, if a notification need to be repeated, other options can be chosen. Notifications can be sent every day or at a range of intervals (every 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. day). Alternatively, the day(s) of the week or day(s) of the month can be selected.
  4. Choose month(s)

    Any specific month(s) can be chosen for notifications.
  5. Choose when to start

    Notifications can begin to be sent at specific time points defined by the time and date. Alternatively, a time point can be picked relative to the current moment or the moment of participant registration. In the latter case, the starting point will be different for each participant and will be determined by the time when a participant joins the study via the mobile app.
  6. Choose when to stop

    The options here are similar to choosing when to start notifications. Different combinations of starting and stopping points can be created, e.g., notifications can start from the moment each participant registers but stop at one specific time point, which will be the same for everybody.

When a notification has been added, it appears in the list of scheduled notifications, which can be controlled and cancelled at any time by clicking either the delete icon in the table or the “Delete all notifications” button.