As promised, the topic this time is survey design, and as usual, I’m sharing a project that I am working on.
Rules of thumb
- Speak users’ language, be concise but not ambiguous
- It never hurts to do one more dry run.
- Response rate: 20%-40% for target email invitations, 10%-15% for web popup windows, 1%-2% web banners
Prelude: Survey and you
We all agree that online survey is a very effective method to unveil l the answer to product stakeholder’s questions and collect quantitative data about target users. It is especially superior in making strong claims about narrow phenomena.
There are several ways of attracting users to take your survey, ranking in efficiency, from highest to lowest: email campaign, popup window (which I dislike most) and website banners. In my case, I used a sliding animation, hoping to have user’s attention with minimal negative influence on browsing experience.
Step 1: Formulate Goals
What’s the question in your mind? Do you want to know your users’ characteristic information, their behavioral preferences or their attitude toward your product? In my case, we hope to know users’ impression of usability/visual appeal/functionability/web page speed and we can prioritize them. List all questions out, group them semantically, and eliminate ones that you don’t really need, because, the shorter the better.
A gorgeous example is from apple.
Step 2: Design the questions, make it short
The rule of thumb is: make it short. If this survey is a single-question-one, GOOD, if a multi-questions one, don’t be discouraged, remember not to put too many questions on one page, because a long-and-daunting-survey is not that friendly to users. If possible, try to use as many as many as many close-end questions as possible, which will save both users and your time. If you hope users to surprise you, it is ideal to have an open-end question with the survey.
Another nice approach I would like to mention is the agree/disagree array. If you have a group of somewhat related questions all asking agree/disagree, why not put them into an array, reduce the reading time of the user and make the survey more visually appealing.
Step 3: Test, Pilot and Start the survey
Actually a better phrase for this section is: Iterative test, iterative pilot and finally start the survey. The test of the survey helps u refine your wording in the survey, and the pilot helps u balance the amount of information you require and the time users need to spend on it.
Send out the survey using: email, popup window, banner or even telephone calls. Remember, the invitation message needs to be short, and full of incentive. A subtle example shown below is from msdn while in contrast an annoying survey is displayed side by side.
Last Step: Data analysis is important
Either a home-built survey application or 3rd party online survey tools will generate reports. Do spend GOOD amount of time on it, totally worth it.