Web surveys serve as an excellent information gathering tool from target audience. Since they can be designed for any kind of demographics, web surveys can be used in almost any manner for gathering data.
Why do Surveys Fail?
The success of web surveys is completely dependent on how they have been developed and the technique by which they have been deployed. For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to have clear objectives on the type of data to be collected, statistics about users who will be subject to surveying, the topic of the survey and how the survey will be developed. Ambiguous requirements, non-objective oriented approaches and simple lack of data when designing surveys are the leading factors which cause failure even before the survey has reached finishing stages.
Web Surveys – The Pros and Cons
Despite being one of the oldest approaches to collect data, web surveys have not lost their popularity because of their ability to directly communicate with audience and extract relevant information for surveyors. Below are some of the advantages that surveys provide that have allowed them to remain relevant despite the passage of time and new techniques.
- Minimum resources are spent during surveys, as it involves the applicant entering information into the survey form and surveyor receiving it, which in turn saves both monetary resources and time.
- Surveys have a fast response rate, with active users returning data within minutes and others filling them within a margin of days.
- Surveys require no large investments of capital because they are digitally sent to users via email or links, which means advertisement and printing are unnecessary.
- Surveys can be modified to suit any sort of target audience or topic, since they can incorporate any kind of question and receive input from text fields, drop down menus, button clicks or even radio boxes.
While Surveys do have their advantages to boast, they fall under certain constraints which limit their usage.
- Connection to internet is compulsory, which limits surveys to certain areas that have no internet connection.
- Because there is no interviewer available to facilitate data entry into survey, complications may arise which can lead to unreliable data in form.
- Your target audience may already be continually receiving mails and online notifications, which will reduce chances of them replying to the survey.
Designing a Survey for Effectiveness
Just as web design affects UX, the design of a survey is also among the deciding factors which dictate how well it will be received by recipients. It should be simple enough to understand for all viewers, supply all necessary options to fill data in response to queries and should be helpful in the process of entering data. Follow these guidelines to create an effective survey.
- Introduction Matters
The first thing that the viewers should see is an opening screen or page which introduces them to the survey. It should explain the purpose of the survey, where it originates and estimated time of completion. Keep it short and concise so viewers can know in a brief amount of time what is expected of them.
- Keep it Understandable
Instead of long, lengthy questions filled with complex queries, opt for simplicity and understandability so the survey can be filled easily. Split the questions into smaller ones, keep their context easy to understand and choose colors and hues which are audience friendly, so that people with disabilities (color blindness, dyslexia, etc.) can fill the forms without complications as well.
- Research Target Audience
Surveys should be designed specifically for selected group of people to maximize their effectiveness and how they are perceived. For example, office workers have weekends off and it might seem like a good time to send them survey forms. However, certain workers avoid going online or accessing their mails during their off time and hence will not respond to your survey request. In their case, it would be better to approach them during work hours with a brief survey and request five minutes of their time to complete it.
Choosing too many themes for elements in survey does not make it flashy but instead ends up confusing the audience. Stick with one theme for uniformity and select font sizes based on their position (larger for headings, smaller for subheadings and questions) but avoid too much variation.
- Close Ended Questions for Simplicity
Choosing close ended questions (in the form of yes/no) makes the survey precise and allows the people to fill them quickly, which motivates them to complete the survey. They can be paired with open ended questions where necessary to gather precise information and variable data.
- Keep a Logical Flow
Failing to add a logical flow to survey ultimately confuses the target audience during survey filling and they end up abandoning it. To avoid these circumstances, keep similar content grouped and research the topic on which survey is being held. It is normal to ask biodata at the start of surveys but in some cases, it is preferable to do so at the end.
- Objective Oriented Approach
Avoid asking questions which are unrelated to the survey. Focus on deriving relevant information from the audience while facilitating them in entering it.
At times, the people to whom surveys are sent can be busy or may not fill them out due to varying circumstances and forget about the matter altogether. To ensure that they do fill the survey, reminders can be sent, which boost the total number of completed surveys.
- Rewards for Completing Survey
People are always attracted towards incentives offered as a result of completing survey. By offering rewards for completing survey, you can drastically boost the number of people who will complete it. For example, if your survey is about clothing brand preferences then it would be suitable to offer some sort of discount for completing the survey, due to which the audience will be more inclined to complete survey.
- Testing the Survey before Deployment
Test your survey by having a controlled group filling it to determine how effective it is in gathering information and subsequently improve on areas which are lacking. Afterwards, select a test group to present the survey since controlled and field deployment have different results. Improve on their results to finalize your survey for your target audience.
Making the Most out of Surveys
Surveys are only as effective as how they are designed and deployed, so investing in their development correctly ensures they are able to gather data and achieve objectives for which they were created. By following these guidelines for your surveys, you can achieve the maximum benefits provided by surveys and gather accurate data.