Tag Archives: decision trees

Updates: Spreadsheet Import Enhancements and More

updates-blog

When we launched our new feature that allows you to create decision trees from Excel and Google Sheets, we had no idea this feature would be as popular as it has become. Some of our bigger clients, in particular, have really run with this and suggested a lot of great improvements.

Here’s what’s new with spreadsheet decision tree imports:

  • Fix: Validates Tree IDs on spreadsheet import for tree nodes.
  • Fix: Importing and replacing a tree keeps the tree’s settings intact (Elliott).
  • Update: Spreadsheet import allows columns in any order (Elliott).
  • Update: Spreadsheet import allows for a Tags column (Jamel).
  • Fix: Errors in spreadsheet import won’t delete a previous tree if we’re replacing a tree.
  • Fix: Importing Excel with line breaks in cells now works properly, retains line breaks (Charlie).
  • Fix: Importing pasted spreadsheet data now saves the first iteration in Snapshots tool.
  • Update: Spreadsheet import can now include TREE and LINK nodes (Elliott).
  • Update: Exporting CSV tree from Overview/Simple now adds TREE and LINK node types into CSV data.
  • Fix: Importing trees with button links to non-existent nodes now sets the link to “unlinked” (Elliott).

We’ve also done some other tweaks outside of spreadsheet imports:

  • Update: Use “send_zendesk_button” as a node tag to send the button text to Zendesk as a tag instead. (Elliott)
  • Fix: Agent Portal now shows merge variables for agent_name (Craig).
  • Update: Added Agent List export to the My Agents page (Gene).
  • Update: Added more error checks to Add Multiple Agents input tool.
  • Update: Made show/hide tree name option more visible in iFrame Advanced Options.
  • Fix: Copying a Gallery tree into a new account works properly.
  • Update: Max attachment size in email nodes increased to 25 Mb (Dan B.).
  • Update: Merge variables now has an option to retain plus characters (Chris).
  • New: API call to delete session data from our servers for a particular session ID (Jay).
  • Fix: email-session-info occasionally failed when data was entered right before sending (Alok, Craig).

Phew!

Got a suggestion to make Zingtree better? Give us a holler.

The Ultimate Online Decision Tree Maker for Any Need

A decision tree maker is the best tool for simplifying complicated processes, including those frequently faced in customer support, technical troubleshooting, sales optimization, training, program enrollment, and communications, to name a few. Presented in a customized, standardized, and completely interactive environment, decision trees have the potential to make a huge impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of any business or organization.

Zingtree is an online decision tree maker that allows you to quickly build, customize and publish interactive decision trees online, and comes fully-loaded with real-time analytics and reports.

How to Use Zingtree’s Decision Tree Maker

Our powerful decision tree maker toolkit allows you to create trees in a few unique ways:

1. Start from Spreadsheets

Easily draft and import any Google Sheets or Excel document into Zingtree and turn it into a decision tree. Once imported, you can enhance using powerful editing tools that offer more decision tree-related functionality than spreadsheets alone.

2. Draw It out With Designer

Designer lets you easily “draw” a decision tree. On a single display, you’ll be able to view and create the nodes and pathways for your decision tree and see exactly how it’ll flow.

Watch the Designer tutorial video here.

3. Quickly Create Using Wizard

Wizard builds a tree through prompts, using a form-based approach. The tool walks you through how to make a decision tree, while you input the questions and answers.

Watch the Wizard tutorial video here.

4. Build From Scratch With Overview

Overview is a form-based option for creating trees node-by-node. The editor has tools for refining to perfection and is ideal for content-rich decision trees.

Watch the Overview tutorial video here.

No matter the method, here’s an example of how your decision tree will look:

Tips for Great Decision Trees

Basic decision trees can always get the job done, but with a little bit of added effort, you can gather amazing data, as well as really blend into your company brand or personality.

Need more help getting started? Have a question? Want more tips? We’re always here for you

Educational Decision Tree Case Study: Lego League + Zingtree

FIRST LEGO League Team “Loading…” + Zingtree

Grade school students use decision trees to bring science to life with LEGO

Each year, FIRST LEGO League releases a challenge based on a real-world scientific topic. Teams of up to ten children, with at least one adult coach, participate by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field, developing a solution to a problem they have identified all guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values.

Teams may then attend an official tournament to compete on a regional level – it’s one of the most creative and tech-friendly events that exists for kids today.

The Challenge

This year’s theme was “Animal Allies,” wherein the students sought to find a way to help animals and humans live better together. The innovative Loading… FLL Team from Minneapolis, comprised of six amazing child-engineers and two helpful adults, tackled the problem of owners not being able to care for their pet before they commit to the well-being of adopting an animal.

Zingtree’s Solution

Creating an interactive decision tree provided Loading… with the perfect platform to guide potential pet owners through the process of adopting an animal, and what pet would be the right fit.

“Zingtree had setup tutorials as well, which made making a pet decision tree all the much easier. We found that it was an easy to use, easy to edit decision maker that allowed many options. Overall, Zingtree was a great tool that made our app making successful and fast.”  

The Loading… team took their hands-on science efforts to tournament this year, thanks to their very own FIRST LEGO League decision tree.


About Zingtree

Zingtree is the most user-friendly platform for creating and implementing interactive decision trees that deliver answers faster. Quickly create a decision tree that your site visitors, leads, trainees and/or customers navigate by clicking buttons to answer questions, and receive detailed analytics on how trees are being used. Zingtree makes it easy to guide anyone through complicated processes – there’s no better way to help people get answers and solve problems.

View the full Lego League + Zingtree case study and download the PDF here


Want to see more? Explore the Zingtree Gallery for examples of how our decision trees and interactive solutions provide value for businesses!

New Auto-Arrange Tool: Creating Nice Visual Layouts for Decision Trees

autoarrange-blog

When using the Zingtree Wizard, or the Excel or Google Sheets Import tools, one of the drawbacks is that when you view those trees in Designer, there is no initial data for the visual representation of your tree. We’ve been working on making sure the Traffic Map report and Designer views look good when you first open a tree not created with Designer, and now we finally have a solution: the Auto-Arrange Tool.

Auto-Arrange uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence and the laws of physics to come up with an optimal layout for your tree. It turns out that this is a difficult problem to solve, and while we feel it can be improved, this solution will save you a lot of time from manually rearranging the layout of your trees – especially really big ones.

One of the fun things about Auto-Arrange is that you can watch it working as it rearranges and repositions nodes in real-time.

auto-arrange-1

When you first open the Traffic Map report or Designer tool, you’ll be offered a chance to use Auto-Arrange. Next, Auto-Arrange will attempt to organize your decision tree in a tree-like fashion. If that doesn’t work, it will switch to a “network” view, which is less hierarchical. You can also switch views manually, and play with some of the parameters used to render the tree layout.

Here’s how our Pet Rock demo appears in Tree view (scaled down):

Here’s how the same tree looks in a Network display:

Once you are done playing with Auto-Arrange, you can proceed to Designer and your new layout will automatically become a part of the design.

Want to try it out? You can access Auto-Arrange from within Designer.

Is this new tool helpful? Fun? Let us know!

Decision Trees for Business: How to Streamline Procurement

Having a well-defined, charted procurement process is vital for company operations in any industry to run smoothly. The proper purchasing of necessary materials can often mean the difference between a successful company and one that ultimately falls due to unsustainable costs or purchasing delays.

For Zingtree customer Phillip Morris International (PMI), standardizing procurement with decision trees has helped keep costs in line and the process consistent for many disparate departments. Anyone buying anything at PMI can now adhere to the company-approved process. This results in employees getting the tools they need faster and more efficiently.

Optimizing the Procurement Process

Is procurement working effectively to support your company’s over-arching strategy?

Without the proper processes set in motion, your organization may be losing out on a lot of revenue and opportunity for growth. And, while the entire process of making an inefficient procurement system better may be complicated, and ultimately take time for decision-makers to come around to, there are platforms to help simplify and understand. After revisiting current processes and looping in the necessary departments, selecting the right kind of technology is key in the optimization process.

Without a mature, strategic procurement function to influence, control and report on organizational spending, it is impossible for a business to fully leverage its total purchasing power and create the value and service levels required from third party suppliers.” – PwC

Structure, sequence and regular analysis are crucial for an effective procurement process. For PMI, using Zingtree decision trees to guide the procurement process has proven to be an enormous help, allowing buyers to follow complicated processes in a lean, interactive environment that greatly reduces the risk of human error.

Balancing complexity and control with ease, PMI’s decision trees have automated processes with a clearly-defined and company-compliant approach. Plus, management now has real-time usage data to assist in further optimization. By utilizing a guided process of procurement internally, any business can standardize best practices to ensure that every purchase process is handled exactly the way it needs to be.

Ready to start streamlining your procurement, or other business processes? Please get in touch with us!

The Visual Designer: Drawing Out Your Decision Tree

Everyone prefers their own way of creating, and it can come in many forms. To address this, we built Zingtree with a few different ways to design and construct an interactive decision tree.

For the more visual learner, the Zingtree Visual Designer allows you to draw out your decision tree. This “white board” style lets users to create nodes, along with their connections, and see the nitty gritty details of how the tree functions.

Here’s how to get started with the Visual Designer:

1. Once you log in to your Zingtree account and start Designer, you’ll see a screen that looks like the one shown below, with one node already in place as a green box. This is the very first node your users will see and interact with.

2. Click on Node #1, and you’ll see an edit window pop up on the right hand side. You can edit the Title, Question and main Content segments to your liking.

3. Drag new nodes into the design area – these correspond to the pages in your decision tree. Again, select the green box to edit each node’s Question, Content, etc.

4. When you’re ready, add a Final Answer Node and edit to fit your needs. These will appear in blue, to differentiate from your green Question Nodes.

5. Continue to create these Questions & Answer Nodes by dragging new nodes into the design area, and then connect them using labeled arrows. The connecting arrows represent the button selections from each node.

6. Finish linking all of your nodes using this method, and you’ll end up with a finished product that looks something like this image below. Often times, Zingtree users only use this mode as a way of assembling their decision trees. Please keep in mind that things can get confusing for more complex trees that require more nodes.

For a more in-depth tutorial, watch this video to see how to build the example tree above using Zingtree Designer:

 

 

To view more ways of building your decision trees, check out our Zingtree Design Tutorials.

Update: Import from Excel, Google Sheets

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In spite of the fact that Zingtree has some really great ways to build interactive decision trees, we still get a lot of requests for making the process of creating trees even easier.  Many people are particularly comfortable working inside their favorite spreadsheet program, so we’ve created an easy way to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create new decision trees.

Once imported, the Zingtree editing and management tools can be used to refine and enhance your trees.

Here’s how our tutorial example appears in Google Sheets:

Details on this new feature:

Note that the same process for importing from Excel or Sheets can be used to import any tab delimited CSV file from any other program.

Other Updates

  • Update: Added ##ALL DATA## as a template for showing a summary of all data entry fields collected (h/t Sebastian, Logan). Details here.
  • Update: Added custom date range shortcut option to All Agents report. (h/t Allen J.).
  • Fix: Changing organization in All Agents report works properly now.
  • Fix: Restart function in older Zendesk Agent Scripting app installations now works properly again (Jamel).
  • Fix: Editing nodes from subtrees while using Preview now works properly (Jamel).
  • Update: Preview no longer automatically scrolls to the top of content.
  • Fix: Scoring uses numeric value of variables, not string value (Matt B.).
  • Update: All Agent report link added to My Agents page(Allen J.).
  • Update: Agent report now has quick date links.

Can we make your tree creating experience even easier? Just let us know!

Create Decision Trees using Google Sheets

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Did you know that Google Sheets can be used as a decision tree building tool? Using a specific layout, you can easily import any Sheets document into Zingtree, and turn it into a fully functional interactive decision tree.

Once you’ve successfully imported your tree, you can enhance it using Zingtree’s editing tools, which offer a lot more decision tree related functionality than Google Sheets.

Here’s how our example tree used in the tutorials appears in Sheets:

You can get started now by copying this example and modifying it:

Get Example from Google Sheets

 

Overview

Zingtree can create decision trees from Google Sheets, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to be set up in a specific way for this to work.

Here are the rules:

  1. The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
  2. Column A is for the node number. Usually this is sequential. It’s required. The heading must say “Node“.
  3. Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title“.
  4. Column C is for any content that appears in the content area.  This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content“.
  5. Column D is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question“.
  6. If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags“. This is optional.
  7. The last columns are for the button choices.  The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons“. You can have several columns of buttons.
  8. For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets.  In the above example, cell F2 has a button labelled “Yes” that links to node #2.  ( Yes[2]  )
  9. If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).

Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.

You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:

  • Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell C8 in the example):
    LINK: http://google.com
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area will be (see cell C7 in the example):
    TREE: 123456789
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
    TREE: 999999999,3

Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a TSV file. This is also known as tab-separated values, or tab delimited CSV.

You can also just copy and paste cells from Sheets into Zingtree. Sheets copies tab delimited data to the clipboard automatically.

Build Your Tree

To start, open this file in Sheets, and make a copy for your personal use. This is an enhanced demo from our “what to wear” example.

Now start modifying it.  Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.

When you’re done, you can import your work into Zingteee via copy and paste, or by exporting to a tab delimited (TSV) file.

Import via Copy and Paste

This is the easiest way to import your decision tree into Zingtree:

  1. In Sheets, select the entire range of cells for your tree, and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C).
  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import via Copy and Paste tool.  (You can also get there via My Trees, Create Tree, then select Import from Google Sheets.) A screen like this appears:

  3. Choose Google Sheets as the source.
  4. Enter a name for your tree
  5. Paste the data copied from step 1 into the data area. (Use Ctrl+V or Cmd+V).
  6. Click Import and Create Tree.

You’ll see your new tree in the Zingtree overview.

Import via a TSV file

For larger trees, you may find it better to upload a file instead of copying and pasting. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In Sheets, go to File, Download As, and select Tab-separated values (.tsv, current sheet).

  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import File tool. (You can also get there from My Trees, Create Tree, and then choosing Import from Google Sheets.)

  3. If you want to overwrite an existing tree, select it via Replace Tree. Otherwise a new tree will be created.
  4. Click Import File, and locate the file you created in step 1.
  5. The new tree will appear in Zingtree.

Notes:

  • You can use this process to import files from any tab delimited CSV format.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime. 

Create Decision Trees using Microsoft Excel

excel-blog

If you’re comfortable using Microsoft Excel, you can build the first draft of your Zingtree decision trees using a spreadsheet and then easily import them into Zingtree.

Once you’ve successfully imported your tree, you can modify it and enhance it using Zingtree’s editing tools, which offer a lot more decision tree related functionality than Excel.

Here’s how our example tree used in the tutorials appears in Excel:

Overview

Zingtree can create decision trees from Excel, or any similarly formatted tabular source. Your spreadsheets just need to be set up in a specific way for this to work.

Start now by downloading and modifying this example .XLS file:

Download Example for Excel

Here are the rules:

  1. The first row is for column headings. This is important, as it tells Zingtree what type of data is in each column. Make sure to use the column headings as described below.
  2. Column A is for the node number. Usually this is sequential. It’s required. The heading must say “Node“.
  3. Column B is for the title of a node. Your trees will be easier to read if each node has a descriptive title. The heading must say “Title“.
  4. Column C is the question that is being asked. You can leave this blank if you want an answer node. The heading must be “Question“.
  5. Column D is for any content that appears in the content area.  This is imported as plain text, but you can add formatting, images, and videos later using the Zingtree editing tools. The heading must read “Content“.
  6. If you want to include node tags in your tree, insert a column with a heading of “Tags“. This is optional.
  7. The last columns are for the button choices.  The heading over the first button column must be “Buttons“. You can have several columns of buttons.
  8. For the button columns, you can make them link to other nodes by adding the node number in square brackets.  In the above example, cell F2 has a button labelled “Yes” that links to node #2.  ( Yes[2]  )
  9. If you want to add a comment to any node, insert a cell on the right that starts with an exclamation point character (!).

Note: Columns can be in any order, but the column headings must contain the proper text like “Node”, “Question” etc.

You can also make Link Nodes and Tree Nodes with special text in the content column:

  • Example: To make a Link Node that goes to Google, the content area looks like this (see cell D9 in the example):
    LINK: http://google.com
  • Example: To make Tree Node that opens tree ID #123456789, the content area is this (see cell D8 in the example):
    TREE: 123456789
  • Example: To make a Tree Node that opens tree ID #999999999 at node #3, the content area should be:
    TREE: 999999999,3

Once you’ve finished your tree, it needs to be exported as a TXT file. This is also known as a tab delimited CSV.

You can also just copy and paste cells from your Excel document into Zingtree. Excel copies tab delimited CSV data to the clipboard automatically.

Build Your Tree

To start, download our “what to wear” example tree, as an Excel .XLS file.

Open this file in Excel, and start modifying it.  Make sure to keep top row column headings in place. Keep questions in the question column, content in the content column, etc.

When you’re done, you can import it into Zingteee via copy and paste, or by exporting to a TXT file.

Import via Copy and Paste

This is the easiest way to bring your decision tree into Zingtree:

  1. In Excel, select the entire range of cells for your tree, and copy to the clipboard (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C).
  2. In Zingtree, go to the Import via Copy and Paste tool.  (You can also get there via My Trees, Create Tree, then select Import from Microsoft Excel.) A screen like this appears:

  3. Choose Microsoft Excel as the source.
  4. Enter a name for your tree
  5. Paste the data copied from step 1 into the data area. (Use Ctrl+V or Cmd+V).
  6. Click Import and Create Tree.

You’ll see your new tree in the Zingtree overview.

Import via a TXT file

For larger trees, you may find it better to upload a file instead of copying and pasting. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In Excel, go to File, Save As, and select Text (Tab Delimited) as the type.

  2. The file name will become the name of your tree. Click Save when finished.
  3. In Zingtree, go to the Import File tool. (You can also get there from My Trees, Create Tree, and then choosing Import from Excel.)

  4. If you want to overwrite an existing tree, select it via Replace Tree. Otherwise a new tree will be created.
  5. Click Import File, and locate the file you created in steps 1 and 2.
  6. The new tree will appear in Zingtree.

Notes:

  • You can use this process to import files from any tab delimited CSV format.

Any questions? Reach out to us anytime. 

Custom Themes with CSS: A Look At Duda’s Decision Trees

Duda is a is a self-service software suite built for creating optimized, responsive and personalized websites for businesses. As a company with a large focus on customer communication, support and self-service solutions, they take advantage of interactive troubleshooter decision trees with a custom theme to help site visitors help themselves.

Created with powerful custom CSS for decision trees, Duda was able to create a completely unique and personal experience through Zingtree with a theme that fits seamlessly with their brand. Complex in its code, the experts at Duda built a truly incredible customized decision tree for their customers that we’re in awe of!

You can view the live tree here, and see some previews below.

The tree’s Welcome Page has a clean, beautiful design that showcases each major section of knowledge base information. 

 

Learn more about personalizing decision trees with Zingtree Custom CSS, and see some great tree examples on the Zingtree GalleryAny questions? Let’s talk!