Online Survey User Experience: Urgent Need for Improvements

At a recent conference organised by Association for Survey Computing (ASC), several market research professionals expressed concerns about the prevailing focus on fraud prevention, which inadvertently neglects the user experience of survey takers.

Arno Hummerston, the founder of Amplify MR, stressed that being a real person does not automatically translate into high-quality data. Merely eliminating fraudulent respondents falls short of providing a genuinely valuable and engaging survey experience.

frustrated panelist

Debrah Harding, managing director at the Market Research Society, underscored the challenge of encouraging public participation in market research. She highlighted the imperative for researchers to create surveys that not only yield insights but also leave respondents feeling positive and fulfilled. Respondents who do not perceive value or encounter unsatisfactory experiences are less likely to engage in future research endeavours, jeopardizing the overall effectiveness of survey-based investigations.

The conference discussions further revealed that survey design plays a pivotal role in shaping respondent experiences. Lengthy surveys, monotonous questions, and unnecessary repetitions were identified as major sources of participant frustration and disengagement. Jon Puleston, Vice President of Innovation at Kantar Profiles, emphasized the prevalence of biased questions, leading to inaccurate or incomplete responses. These challenges contribute to an alarming 66% failure rate (meaning respondents dropping out of surveys) within the industry, necessitating immediate action.

To address these concerns, industry leaders proposed several solutions. They stressed the importance of setting industry standards that prioritize participant experience alongside fraud prevention. Suggestions included adopting profile questions as a standard practice, eliminating screening and redundant inquiries, and incorporating humour to encourage honesty and authenticity.

Ultimately, the call to action is clear: market researchers must reimagine their approach to online surveys. By treating respondents with respect, considering their needs, and creating engaging and rewarding survey experiences, the industry can foster stronger relationships with participants, enhance data quality, and secure long-term viability.

As big advocates for improved respondent experience, we think the need for improved respondent treatment in online surveys cannot be overstated. It is essential to acknowledge the individuals behind the data and ensure their satisfaction throughout the survey process. By embracing user-centric approaches, market researchers can pave the way for more meaningful, reliable, and mutually beneficial engagements with survey respondents.

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