How to Use Survey Feedback to Create High Impact Designs / by Logan Lenz

One of the most important aspects about creating a product or service is finding out what the targeted audience has to say about it. Using surveys is a great way to create user-centered designs, which guarantees a great impact of the design on the targeted users. Surveys help you to understand better your target niche. By asking questions related to your product design, you can get valuable feedback that your entire team can use in the design efforts.

There are a plethora of free tools available that allow you to survey users easily:  Survey Monkey, Qualaroo, etc.  Once your surveys are complete there are also many tools that allow you to share the results with your team and let your team members research the data themselves:  Google docs, PanXpan’s survey response module, etc.  These tools are a great starting place.

Being able to use survey data depends on the type of survey you create, and the interpretation of the survey data. The results of a well-done survey can be useful to every step of the design process but only if this information is openly available to your team.

The survey design is very crucial to getting the information you are looking for. The following are some of the factors to keep in mind when creating the survey:

·         Length of the survey: A good survey should have around 50 questions or less. If the survey is very long, the respondent will simply speed through it to finish without giving the answers much thought. If you want to get realistic views, keep the survey short.

·         Use skip logic: You should give surveys to people that fall within your target demographic, otherwise, you will end up with inaccurate information that does not reflect the views of the kind of people you are targeting with your designs. Putting qualifying questions at the beginning of your survey can help disqualify the respondents who do not fit into you target demographic.

·         Disqualified respondents: Just because the disqualified respondents do not meet some of your target demographic criteria, it does not mean they do not have valuable input. Maybe one of the reasons why they do not qualify is because they do not use the product, yet they meet the other criteria. You can ask them why they are not interested in that product as well.

·         Demographic questions: You do not want to end up filtering through too much data to get to the relevant information. If you want responses that are more specific, you can get more detailed with your demographic. For instance, if you are designing a mobile application or website, you can ask the respondents the kind of smartphones they use.

·         Group questions: Make it easier for your respondents to focus their thoughts by grouping questions with similar subjects. Short and simple surveys often have higher response rates, especially when there is logical order that enable the respondent to go through the survey quickly and accurately.

·         Confidentiality: Not everyone is comfortable with sharing their personal information. Some of the information requested in the survey could also be highly sensitive. You can ask for demographic characteristics such as general location, gender and ages but avoid going into specific names or addresses to make your respondents more comfortable.

·         Disqualify competitors: Having direct competitors participate in your survey could distort your survey response research. You need responses from the people who will be using the website, application or print on a regular basis, not other designers. You can use a screener question asking respondents to choose their industry or occupation before beginning the survey.

Where to find respondents

Once you have created the survey, you need to find respondents to fill the questions. If you are looking for feedback about a website or application, you can create a pop up that request users to participate in a quick survey. Sometimes you may need to use incentives like free sign ups, coupons or premium access for a few days for users who are willing to participate in the survey. Targeting audiences that have already visited the website is a great way to find out about their experience and ways that you can improve the website for better user experience

Other authoritative sites also host survey services for businesses that are looking for customer feedback. They will share your designs and survey with their respondents. Using these survey hosts is also a great way to get good feedback. Most of these sites screen their members to ensure they meet reliable respondent criteria and can offer honest and unbiased opinions.

Analyzing the results

You need to analyze the results from the survey to find out what the general feedback is. You can group similar answers into percentage, for instance, what percentage of the respondents found the design appealing and so on. Grouping responses makes it easier to determine the popular feedback about aspects of your design.

The analysis of results should be available to all members of the design team. They can discuss these results and the kinds of changes they can make for better and more effective design before releasing the product out to the market.