Understanding the icons in mTAB
The mTAB Icon Structure
Over the years, we have tried to make mTAB as user friendly as possible and have introduced many visual aids within our software to make using mTAB easy and straightforward. For example, colored icons were added in many years ago to help differentiate between questions/recodes as well as between questions that were consistent over time and those that were not. This has worked extremely well, and now we have revisited our icons and have enhanced them to form a more comprehensive list, which we will now endeavor to explain.
Within mTAB questions are generally denoted by an icon showing a Question Mark (?). Question marks are usually Green. However, if more than one database is compare within mTAB, then the color surrounding the ? will change to Yellow if the response table has changed from database to database or Red if this variable is not available in one of the selected databases.
As time has gone on, we have incorporated many new data types in to the mTAB software and we have now assigned a prefix or suffix to the icons to help identify each type.
We begin with the main types of questions that you will see in mTAB.
In addition to these, we also have a data type that we refer to as a Group question. These are normally identified in their question text with a (G#) symbol at the end, with the # being a number to denote that this is a Group # of many in this database.
Group questions can be simple Table questions or can incorporate any of the question types shown above. To represent these, we place the same suffixes on the group icon on the bottom:
User Defined Variables
One of mTAB’s greatest strengths is the ability for users to make use of variables that are provided in the basic database, but also to go beyond that by re-aggregating variables, creating clusters or even by creating personal user defined questions.
Recodes are still represented as they have always been, by an R.
The icon with the Black R indicates that a recode is permanent, whilst the White R indicates that this is a temporary session recode. Since Recodes can be based on any question in the database, they can be formed from any data type. To accommodate this, we have again used the suffixes and prefixes shown above to indicate the question type.
In addition to this, all user defined variables can be owned by an individual user (Private) or can be shared among a group of users (Shared). This we indicate by placing a multiple head symbol at the top right of the icon, giving us:
Clusters can be created within mTAB and these are denoted by the icons below. Once again the icon can be Red, Yellow or Green to show the status of the question and can be Private or Shared, indicated by the suffix on top.
Finally, we have User Defined questions, which have a new icon. The icon can again be Red, Yellow or Green to show the status of the question and can be Private or Shared, indicated by the suffix on top. For User Defined Questions and for Clusters, and Orange version of the icon exists, indicating that the database upon which the question/cluster was defined has been updated and the user needs to check the validity of the definition.