How to design an engaging survey

Some surveys are brilliant, but not all surveys are effective. Some get overwhelming replies whilst others struggle to get one. Why? In our experience, the overall design of the survey plays a significant role.


Good survey design focuses on making it appealing to your audience to engage and this means thinking about more than just the questions you ask. And with so many different methods for running surveys, there are a few important things to think about and a few pitfalls to avoid.


Here are some key areas to consider when designing your surveys:


Make it look great!

In a busy world, our minds block out much of what we see, which means you have a matter of seconds to grab somebody’s attention. A kiosk in a high footfall area, an email landing in an inbox or a comment card at reception, the principal is the same – how will you make sure people take notice? The look and feel of the survey is the first thing people will notice, does it grab attention? Does it stand out from the other things in the environment? Think about how you can use your own brand to focus attention.


Make it simple

Completing a survey should not become a burden to the respondent. Make sure it is simple to navigate and explains exactly what the respondent needs to do and why. More complex questions should be framed by a simple short explanation, and you should always use plain English, avoiding any industry jargon.


Ask questions in the right way

Consider the tone appropriate to the questions you are asking and use logical language. Routing questions with interactive surveys can allow you to change wording, for example “We are pleased to hear that” becomes “We are sorry to hear that” when a negative response is given. Make sure your questions flow in a logical order to avoid any confusion.


Make respondents feel valued

Your respondents are giving you their time and energy, therefore when they walk away they should feel that their time has been well spent. Always thank your respondents and if possible give some detail about how the results will be used. You could use the opportunity to feedback on previous feedback with “you said we did” messages, which is brilliant for engagement.


Test your survey

Ask for a second or third pair of eyes on your draft survey to test that it makes sense and that they understand and feel comfortable with the flow. It is important to establish whether they have read the questions in the way you intended them to be understood, therefore review their responses with them and take the whole process through to conclusion.


We have a free ebook about the different ways that survey data can be captured, which might help further.

Our free EBook "Methods for Measuring Satisfaction and Increasing Feedback Reach"  explores the options available to you and how they can help to increase the number of responses from your feedback programme.

Download it here.

About author

Written by Claire Moseley

Claire is part of the marketing team here at ViewPoint

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