Design tips for surveys 2012 – a seminar for UIE

A rating scale as a series of smileys - some showing pleasure and others clearly unhappy
How many points to use in a rating scale?

When I was invited, as a Rosenfeld Media aspiring author, to talk about surveys for the UIE All You Can Learn series of seminars, I had to think hard about how to condense a full-day training workshop into something that would work for a seminar audience.

With UIE’s help (and I can’t praise them too highly for making the whole seminar experience a delight), we opted for a dozen tips:

Tip 1: Offer a meaningful, immediate reward
Tip 2: Be trustworthy and look trustworthy
Tip 3: Focus on the questions that deliver the insights that you need the most
Tip 4: To get a good survey, talk to lots of users
Tip 5: Don’t stress about the number of points in your rating scale
Tip 6: Refine questions so they’re crystal clear
Tip 7: Write interesting questions
Tip 8: Make sure that your users understand your questions in the same way that you do
Tip 9: Design the page so people can answer easily
Tip 10: Think about the story the data can tell
Tip 11: Know what decision you’ll make based on this survey
Tip 12: Know “The Most Crucial Question” and don’t forget to ask it

and I added in a bonus, and most important one:
Bonus tip: A successful survey is a questionnaire and a process that involves lots of testing

For a small charge, you can listen to the whole seminar on UIE’s site.