If you’re reading this post on your phone, you’re not alone. Mobile device usage has exploded and continues to grow, and the implication for survey writers is clear: You need to adopt a mobile-friendly mindset to ensure you’re reaching respondents when and where they’re spending their time online. That means additional considerations about the types of questions you ask, how they are worded, and how users enter information.
The main differences to keep in mind when designing for mobile are:
- Smaller screens
- Portrait orientation (although users can turn their phones to use landscape orientation)
- Touchscreen interface
- Lack of physical keyboard
The Business Case for Mobile-Friendly Surveys
Mobile devices, including phones and tablets, accounted for more than 70% of all global website traffic in 2020, according to a recent report from digital consulting firm Perficient. And the number of mobile devices is growing rapidly: There will be 18.2 billion of them by 2025, according to forecasts by Statista.
To accommodate both mobile devices and computers, virtually all websites now use adaptive design, which means the formatting automatically adjusts based on screen size. You don’t need to take extra steps when creating surveys to take advantage of adaptive design – it will already be integrated into your survey platform.
A good mobile survey goes beyond just adaptive design. Here are some things to consider:
Choose the Right Question Types
Multiple-choice questions are good for surveys on mobile, as they can be completed with a few taps. Open-ended questions require respondents to enter text using an on-screen keyboard, and matrix questions with too many response options may not work well in portrait orientation.
Keep It Short
While users are much more active on mobile devices, they tend to spend more than twice as much time on a website when they’re using computers – 351 seconds vs. 160 seconds, according to Perficient. That makes it essential to keep your surveys as concise as possible to accommodate mobile users with short attention spans.
Keep the questions short, and only ask as many questions as you need. Use logic tools to shorten surveys even more by skipping questions respondents don’t need to answer. And take steps to minimize survey fatigue, which can affect response rates and the quality of your results.
Graphics such as logos, icons, and images can be detrimental in two ways. First, they can occupy a lot of space on a small screen, making pages cluttered and difficult to navigate. Second, they might increase the time it takes to load a page of your survey – and slow load times can lead to people leaving your site. Search Engine Journal says pages should load in no more than three seconds.
If you must use graphics, make sure they are sized appropriately and optimized for speed.
Test, Test, Test … and Test Again
The best way to ensure you’re providing a mobile-friendly experience to respondents is to test your survey repeatedly, on many different devices with varying screen sizes, before launching it. Put yourself in the shoes of someone seeing the survey for the first time. If you discover an issue, resolve it and test again.