Marketing, Sales, and Support

Writing Web Surveys

Follow these guidelines to write effective surveys for the World Wide Web.

  1. Have a good reason to do an online survey. Such surveys take time and resources from the Information Technology team. If you do a survey, plan on reading the results!

  2. Keep your questions to one written word processing page! Except in rare circumstances where you really know your audience, short and sweet is the rule. This single page should translate into a Web page of about three screens—no more. Users don't want to scroll down forever.

  3. Never ask more than 10 to 15 questions. You want to make it as quick and easy as you can. Keep lots of "white" space in the survey so that it looks easy to read on the screen.

  4. Never have more than two or three write-in-the-answer questions or fields in your Web survey. Keep the respondents' writing to fewer than 25 words per response. These types of questions take time to answer—and some people are self-conscious about their writing skills. These also take time to read. Sometimes, fill-in questions are necessary and important, but use them sparingly and word them carefully.

  5. Write questions so that they can be answered by checking a box. These kinds of questions are very easy to answer on the Web.

  6. Write questions so that they can be answered in a "yes/no" format or the "agree/disagree"  format. This means you have to word your questions carefully so that they will be interpreted in the way you intend. A misread or misunderstood question will yield the wrong data and may frustrate the survey taker.

  7. Thank the respondents in advance for their help. These people are doing you a favor by taking time to answer your questions. Your comments should have a tone of thankfulness and appreciation.

  8. Make sure the instructions are clearly worded and easy to follow.

  9. Provide an email name using a mail-to tag so that a customer can communicate any additional feelings or ideas to you.

  10. Put a picture or logo in your survey if it seems appropriate for the audience. Graphics can help make the survey more attractive.