Improving Response Rates with Survey Design

by Mark Martins

As we all know respondent rates and engagement is a big concern in our industry. While we often look at the quality of the sample we tend to ignore a very important contributor, survey design. Below are some tips on how to improve your response rates by designing more engaging surveys.

Length: Survey length continues to be a leading cause of respondent drop offs (not to mention high incentives). The quality of the data becomes questionable the longer the survey is as people tend to stop paying attention and simply start clicking away to get to the end.

Look and Feel: Make the survey engaging for the respondent by using visual appealing colors, media/ Rich Media (e.g. Flash, HTML) and fonts that are pleasing to look at.

Avoid overcrowding: Keep your question text and instructions clear and simple. The lengthier the text on the page the more likely the respondent will not read all of it which will impact how they answer the question. Equally important limit the amount of answer options on a page. If needed, use text predictive tools or drop down boxes to avoid overcrowding.

Question Type: Avoid using open-ended questions as much as possible, this type of question means more work for the respondent (and additional costs for coding for you). Make sure you use the right question type, this may seem obvious but you’d be surprised…

You need to use these guidelines together, for example, getting carried away and adding really cool flash tools for your entire survey will do nothing for survey length (not to mention the additional costs).

Always look at your questionnaire from the respondent’s perspective. If you find the survey boring, too long or unappealing chances are your respondents will too.



*This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.