4 design techniques to elicit better survey results

As today’s culture leans increasingly toward imagery, visuals matter in engaging survey respondents, both internal and external. Here are some eye-openers.

Survey design tips

Not many companies spend the time necessary to design sleek surveys.

Design is often overlooked, which is a shame, because it’s an essential part of getting great results. As a society, we’ve become more design conscious and even consider design in deciding which companies deserve our business.

According to a 2018 Adobe and Econsultancy study, organizations describing themselves as design-driven outperform their peers by a considerable margin, and 73% of respondents use design to differentiate their brand.

Good survey design conveys professionalism and shows that a brand cares about providing a good customer experience in every interaction.

Bad design, beyond hurting your brand image, undermines the quality of your data because it’s less intuitive. If respondents have difficulty answering questions because of poor design, they might not bother.

Here’s how to step up your survey design and get better data:

1. Use plain background colors.

When choosing the background image for your survey, you might be tempted to use vibrant photographs, but there’s a good reason why you shouldn’t.

The survey is there to capture people’s responses to specific questions. Vibrant background images can distract them.

Here are two background patterns. Notice how much easier it is to concentrate on elements in the simple area. 

designing surveys 2

Plain colors might seem boring, but they won’t divert respondents from the questions.

2. Use simple images.

If you do use images in the background, use only images with a neutral, non-distracting backfield, such as this one:

designing surveys

This simple image has plenty of negative space, allowing the central content to shine.

Also, compress larger images so respondents don’t quit your survey due to slow loading times.

3. Maintain brand style.

Using a simpler background image doesn’t mean you have to ignore your branding.

Try these tactics to keep surveys clear yet consistent with your brand:

  • Consider color: Use your brands signature color, either for the background color or, if that’s too distracting, in the survey buttons.
  • Include your logo: Add it to the introduction and closing remarks.
  • Use your brand’s font: Use the WhatFont Chrome extension to find the typeface, and search to see whether you can use it in your text. If not, stick with Arial, Heebo, Open Sans, or Helvetica.

This example from Fitbit incorporates its branding into the design:

Fitbit uses its logo and color scheme and even shows a runner in the background.

4. Make it mobile responsive.

Last year, 58% of internet traffic in the U.S came from a mobile device. It’s not enough for your surveys to look good on desktops; they also have to display well on mobile.

A version of this post first appeared on the Get Feedback blog.


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