I like surveys. As an economics and psychology major, I always appreciated good surveys. When I worked at a startup, I realized how informative even small and simple surveys can be. These days I mainly fill out surveys to help out whoever wants to know about what I think and to make some small cash (e.g. gift card or mileage).

Currently, I mainly answer surveys at erewards, harrisspollonline, and surveymonkey. Mainly, I answer about my shopping patterns and other purchases. Most surveys are reasonably made with rational time expectation. However, yesterday, was the exception!

After coming home, I was tired and my mind was on shut-down mode. So I decided to listen to some music and answer a survey. This survey started innocuous but it did not end even after 20 minutes, it was still asking me questions. The survey claimed it would take 15 minutes but it went on.It kept asking similar questions, and I suppose you want to ensure consistency but come on! After 30 minutes, it said that I did not qualify for this survey!!! I am like really! I was so upset that I felt like reporting the survey. It was super long, repetitive, and it said I did not qualify. Wow! This are the things not to do in a survey!

So what should a good online survey look like?

  1. SHORT. People have low attention span and they may be multitasking. Keep it short so they can finish quickly in a concentrated manner.
  2. Make the survey engaging. Although clicking bubbles is good, having the respondent drag the choices to boxes makes the task more engaging and helps the respondent focus.
  3. Not too many sanity check questions. Some surveys have a sanity check question like choose this option for quality purposes or ask the same question in a slightly different wording. Yes, we need them but minimize them.
  4. Make the respondent choose their compensation. This makes the respondent more engaged because he/she is more committed
  5. Ask for feedback about the survey. Most surveys already ask for feedback about the survey but not sure how many reflect the feedback. If the respondent says that the survey is too long then it is usually too long.

Hope to see well designed surveys in the future 😀