So, it’s time to design a survey. Simple right?
To the untrained eye a survey might seem like a simple task. However, surveys can be extremely tricky and difficult to execute. Anyone might be able to design and administer a survey, but it takes time, effort, and a lot of thought to make a survey that is effective and gives useful feedback.
Here are some useful tips to consider before designing a survey.
1. Do Some Research and Consider the End Result
When constructing a survey it is imperative that the designer spend time thinking about the information/results that they want to see. Think about who will be taking the survey and what analysis you will do. Only after deciding what information needs to be gathered and in what format you want to present the results can you effectively design a questionnaire.
2. Design Engaging & Specific Questions
This is what will make or break your survey. The questions need to produce unbiased and relevant responses. When designing questions it is a good idea to remember to be brief, objective, simple and specific (BOSS). Remember to be clear and concise. Well written questions should motivate the respondent to answer. The usual suspects of survey bias are:
- Leading questions – these question types usually tip off the respondent on how you want the question answered by improper wording or structure
- Loaded questions – these question evoke specific responses because the wording is emotionally charged
- Built in assumptions – Never assume anything when designing a question. Consumers may have a preference, but are they willing to pay more to cover the costs of bringing their preferences to market? Remember be specific, specific, specific!
- Ambiguous and compound questions – These types of questions will lead to ineffective data because they confuse the respondent and contribute to respondent fatigue and dropout rates. Clear and concise questions only!
3.Remove Bias from the Survey Design
Just like design of the specific questions, the overall design of the survey needs to stay simple. Surveys (like blog posts) that are too lengthy and complicated will confuse the audience. Remember, we want the highest response rate we can get. Here are some of the basics
- Make the survey user friendly; design a survey that is enjoyable to take, one in which you would want to participate.
- Images, pictures and graphics can sometimes be fun and useful. But be careful not to let them become distracting or obnoxious.
- Make sure the fonts used aren’t too small and are easy to read.
- Avoid clutter at all costs. Use white space effectively.
- Grab the respondent’s attention at the beginning of the survey by using interesting questions and an engaging landing/welcome page that reinforces the value of survey completion.
- If possible, place demographic type questions at the end of the survey. If placed at the beginning, more respondents will drop out, because you got too personal too fast. Order questions as (1) general, (2) specific and (3) then the personal stuff.
- Group similar questions together to protect reliability and put outcomes ahead of determining factors
- Lastly, do a trial run of the survey before going live to work out any bugs that might pop up.
Follow this guide and you are well on your way to designing a great survey and gathering relevant information!