Monday, December 05, 2016

Improve the design of online survey forms

I have been invited to participate in online surveys. I tried to oblige but have often been disappointed at the poor quality of the survey questions.

Here are some of the bad features that I have frequented encounterd.

a) I am presented one page at a time. I have to complete the page before going to the next page. I do not have any idea about the questions that are being asked in the subsequent pages. I do not even know how many questions are being asked. The survey is often described as a "short survey" but this is a dishonest description.

b) The questions are bad phrased. I am asked to answer questions that I do not understand and are not relevant to me. My answers will distort the survey results. But I am not allowed to opt out.

Here are my suggestions on how to improve the design of the survey;

a) Allow the user to view all the questions before starting to give the answer. If they know the context of the questions, they can give a more accurate and reliable answer.

b) Have fewer questions in the survey. Based on the answers given by the participant, you can pick out the participants who are more interested in the topic. You can send a follow up survey to get answers to more questions or to get more indepth answers.

c) Focus on getting reliable and accurate answers, rather than to get a large number of participants who give unreliable or inaccurate answers.

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