Optimizing Surveys for Mobile Devices

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Consider the following stats; 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone. Further, eight of ten email users access their accounts from mobile devices exclusively. What’s more, 70 percent of consumers delete emails when they don’t show well on those mobile devices. All of which adds up to mean optimizing surveys for mobile devices is more than just a good idea.

It’s the only idea these days—if you want to obtain a decent sampling.

Responsive Design

The software you use to construct the survey must be capable of adapting to the format of any device upon which it is displayed. If you make no other effort at all to ensure mobile friendliness, this is the one you should make.

Fortunately, the clear majority of website themes out there adhere to this practice. But don’t assume—always ask. And, get a demonstration before you commit to going with it.

Beyond that, it helps to also format the survey itself to work well in a mobile environment.

Eliminate Superfluous Content

Mobile screen space is at a premium. Yes, it’s nice to have your branding on full display, but pare it back to the minimum for this application. It’s OK to run your logo (keep it small) and use your color scheme but get users straight to the point. Kill all text irrelevant to the survey and do not run external links.

List Responses from Positive to Negative

People tend to want to accentuate the positive (maybe because of the song). As a result, they’ve become accustomed to seeing positive responses to a question listed first and negative responses listed last.

In a vertically oriented list of responses to a question about satisfaction, the potential answers should rank from “extremely satisfied” at the top, to “extremely dissatisfied” at the bottom. Sticking with the expected convention makes the likelihood of getting reliable data better.

Vertical Scrolling Only

Ever noticed how people tend to shoot smartphone video in the vertical format, even though television screens are horizontal? Yeah, it bugs us too. It also demonstrates an important consideration. Smartphone users are accustomed to holding them vertically. Thus, your survey questions and their potential responses should always scroll from the top down. Trying to get people to work against this instinct will frustrate them and ultimately fail. You need only to look at all the vertical video out there to see the truth in that statement.

Limit Responses to Five

To avoid making the survey unwieldy, keep your response choices to a maximum of five. This conserves space and saves the respondent the chore of scrolling through an endless number of potential answers to find the one reflective of their position.

Minimize Open-Ended Questions

Yes, you can gain additional insights form giving users room to expound upon their answers but typing with thumbs can be somewhat tedious. Save open ended questions for the most crucial data you’re trying to gather.

Brevity = More Engagement

Limited attention spans are one of the by-products of the mobile era of personal computing. Short and to the point is far more attractive to a respondent than long and drawn out. When confronted with a long list of questions, people will ignore your survey and scroll through their endless social media feeds instead. (Ironic isn’t it?)

The personal computing paradigm has shifted. While desktop devices are still out there—and continue to have a pretty dedicated (though much smaller) user base—the clear majority of the public has migrated to hand-held. Optimizing surveys for mobile devices with these considerations in mind will improve your response rates tremendously.

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About Author

Awestruck by Star Trek as a kid, Jake Anderson has been relentless in his pursuit for covering the big technological innovations which will shape the future. A self-proclaimed gadget freak, he loves getting his hands on every piece of gadget he can afford.

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