Testers needed the ability to enter their information right after they paid a store a visit. To stay incognito taking excessive notes is out of question and the faster the information gets into the system, the better the memory serves the testers. Besides their raw notes they also take photos and need to upload them once they are back at their office.
In addition to that the analysis of that data has to happen in multiple places. The market research agency needs to be able to dig deep into the data while their clients often want to have a quick glance at the latest development without further guidance by the agency.
We therefore decided early on to go with a HTML5 based cross-platform approach. A decission that served the project well even if it was not that commin back in 2010. We built a Backbone.js based client that integrated neatly with our Ruby on Rails analysis backend. The testers got a native Windows application using a standalone version of Chrome and local storage features of HTML5 to store data until it is synced with the backend. The installed base of these clients is maintained using a standard Windows installer that brings new versions of the web app straight to the laptops of the testers.