Monday, February 11, 2013

Survey Says

Survey Says...
There are many benefits gained by initiating a survey campaign. Surveys can help online organizations understand what their users want before starting any development process. It can take the guess work out of determining key enhancements.

In A Critical Assessment of Online Survey Tools, Barbara Bogue stated, "Use of assessment can provide a competitive edge in addition to measuring effectiveness, improving programming and informing future activities".1

Major benefits of a survey includes:
  • Saves Time - A survey doesn't require extensive development work. It can be as simple as asking a few questions to understand the needs of your users. A/B testing, although extremely beneficial in understanding ways to increase a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), requires development time which could possibly be discarded if not successful. A simple feedback survey can point development in the right direction before any work begins. 
  • Saves Money - The development cost spent in other strategies is a cost savings for a survey. Most survey tools are available online at no cost. Tools such as Qualtrics require a fee, but allow unlimited surveys to be created and allows companies to access a broad range of users.
  • Direct Audience - Because the survey can be housed directly on your website, you can assure the right audience is being reached. Most tools allow users to be segmented so only individuals in a certain country or using a certain tool can be not prompted to take the survey.
  • Personal Profiling - During a survey, personal information about your users can be gathered to help determine a common profile. Web analytic tools don't reveal the common age, gender, interests, or other personal information. A survey allows companies to learn more about the type of people coming to their site as well as what they do when they get there.
  • Web Analytics Connection - Many web analytics tools will allow a campaign or event id to be added to the end of survey url. A common url with a campaign id would look like this "". The "survey1" is the name of the campaign which can be tracked through a web analytics tool to see what the user did after taking the survey. If the survey was about a new feature added to the website, the analyst can then see if the feature was used after the survey was taken.
  • Limited Response - Surveys are often overused and customers are becoming less responsive. If survey campaigns are used, the company should be careful to only initiate surveys periodically or try to segment different users each time.
  • Possible Misinterpretation - If the user misunderstands the question, you will not get an accurate response. Often users will choose a preferred feature based on look and not functionality. Surveys don't offer a real life use experience and can be misleading.
  •  Difficult to Analyze Long Text - At times it is great to just ask for open feedback, but analyzing and categorizing multiple lines of text can be very difficult and result in wasted time.
 Common Survey Tools
  • Survey Monkey
    • Free - Up to 100 responses per survey
    • Monthly Fee Options -Unlimited responses, skip-logic, redirect url, and more.
    • Key Advantage: Simple to use
  • Qualtrics 
    • Free - Up to 250 responses per survey
    • Corporate Pricing - Unlimited responses, skip-logic, 100 different question types, graphical interaction, and more.
    •  Key Advantage: Advanced features and uses
  • Wufoo
    • Free - Up to 100 responses per form and only 3 Forms
    • Monthly Fee Options -Unlimited forms, up to 100,000 responses per month, advanced form design and functionality
    • Key Advantage: Multiple purposes and designs
  • SurveyGizmo
    • Free - 14 Day Trial
    • One Monthly Fee - Unlimited Responses, advanced options and reporting
    • Key Advantage: Integration with SalesForce, ExactTarget, and Google Spreadsheets
 Cool Tips and Tricks

Figure out the Hot Spot of your website! 

Let's say you want to understand what your users think of the new design on your home page or the usefulness of added features. The Hot Spot feature in Qualtrics can be used in your survey to gather direct feedback on a graphic or a screenshot.

  1. Choose Hot Spot as the question type.
  2. Upload a screenshot of the site. 
  3. Mark certain areas as regions of interest.
  4. Ask your users to choose whether they like/dislike each highlighted feature.
  5. When they take the survey, they can simply vote on each feature and if desired offer additional comments to explain their selection.
  6. The data can easily be calculated and useless features can be discarded or changed. It is simple and effective.

Time Spent:
Research - 3 Hours
Write-up - 2 Hours

1Bogue, Barbara. "A Critical Assessment of Online Survey Tools".  University of Missouri. 2006.

2WolfWikis. "Advantage and Disadvantages of Web Surveys". North Carolina State University. 2013.