DIY User Testing: Surveys

illustration of person taking an online survey

DIY User Testing: Surveys

Creating a good customer experience is vital to app and web design. Survey user testing is a great way to gather straightforward feedback.

User testing is a way of finding and solving problems in your website’s or app’s design. When done right, you can find ways to make your design better and maximize your donation conversions. When done poorly, you miss the mark of what your audience wants or expects. To keep your design from going off course, it helps to know how to get feedback from your users.

What Is Survey Testing?

Survey testing is a straightforward means of asking users questions and collecting feedback. But it’s not as simple as asking any question that comes to mind. As the linked article will tell you, the benefit of user testing in general is collecting unbiased user feedback, but asking the wrong questions (or even the right ones in the wrong way) can add bias to your results or get answers you don’t need.

Want to learn more about survey user testing? Reach out to us today.

Advantages Of Survey Testing

Surveys are designed for collecting answers from groups. This gives you more reliable and actionable feedback than asking one person.

Online survey building services such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Typeform are inexpensive, simplify the survey testing process and lend themselves well to user testing remotely.

Surveys sent online encourage natural responses from users, as they’re encouraged to answer at their own pace and comfort.

Disadvantages Of Survey Testing

This type of user testing is highly susceptible to bias on the user end, especially if the wrong types of questions are asked. Closed-ended questions result in vague answers and don’t leave you with a lot of information to work with. Leading questions or double-barrelled questions can also negatively impact the quality of the answers – but more on that later.

Survey testing also leaves you open to nonresponse bias, especially if the survey is administered remotely.

All of these risks can be minimized by being mindful of your survey’s design.

How To User Test With Surveys

The first step to designing effective survey questions is to determine the answers you want. Sit down and make a plan for what kind of feedback you want on your website. Maybe you want to know if some key elements on your website are easy to find and use. Perhaps you’re trying to find out if you’re hitting the mark on your website’s design.

Let’s say you want to make sure your website’s design holds up for mobile users. You’ll want to know if the website loads fast enough, if your design elements are still visible, and the navigation is as intuitive as if the user was on a desktop.

Next, you’ll want to identify the audience for your survey. If most mobile-bound users are in younger age brackets or in non-office jobs, it wouldn’t make sense to send your survey to older users or those who spend most of their workday in front of a desktop. You’ll want to make sure your survey reaches the group that can answer your questions easily.

Finally, you can start asking questions. The key is to make questions open-ended and encourage detailed feedback.

Avoid asking simple yes/no questions, as you’re restricting the user’s ability to answer with additional facts. So if you’re testing the usability of your mobile site, don’t ask “Does the mobile site load properly? Y/N.” A better choice of question would be, “Describe the elements you see on the home page.”

Leading questions are also best avoided. These questions make assumptions of the user that may or may not influence how they answer. For example, asking a user what version of Android they run on their phone leaves iPhone users with no way to answer. Be careful of phrasing questions in a way that hints at your own biases. A good way to do this is to avoid using adjectives in your questions.

Split double-barreled questions into simpler ones. “Describe what you see on the ‘About Us’ and ‘Testimonials’ pages” becomes two separate questions. “Describe the ‘About Us’ page. Describe the ‘Testimonials’ page.”

Some more tips for effective survey testing design:

  • Use simple, layperson language. Don’t use industry jargon that your users may not understand. Especially in the example of mobile site testing, your users are unlikely to want to open a dictionary app to understand your survey.
  • Give your survey a deadline. This discourages procrastination.
  • Long surveys are bad for user engagement. As a general rule, you should have no more than 30 questions in your survey. If you need to ask more questions, you may need to design multiple surveys.

Further reading and resources:

  1. How Nonprofit Organizations Benefit From User Research
  2. How to Avoid Nonresponse Bias When Creating Surveys
  3. 8 Most Important Elements Every Nonprofit Website Should Include
  4. UX Design Trends That Can’t Be Ignored