Engaging People with Web Survey Software

Posted on : December 14, 2016 - by :

One of the key tasks in creating a survey is to make it engaging enough for people to stay with it and complete it.  Basic web forms have been around for over 20 years.  Some programs still create drab forms just using that standard tool.  More sophisticated web survey software gives you a variety of options to make your questionnaires much more visually interesting.

Some of the most common features let you determine colors and fonts and display a logo at the top of the page.  Almost any program or service will let you make these sorts of customizations.  More advanced programs offer many more features to engage your respondents.

One of the most important of these is the ability to use mouseover colors to shade answer choices when the mouse is over them.  These movable highlights are both visually interesting and make it easier for someone taking the survey to see which answer would be selected if they click their mouse and often provide a much larger area in which someone can click to select a choice than just clicking on a radio button or checkbox.  This feature makes so much difference that you should never use an online survey tool that doesn’t offer mouseover colors.

A related feature is the ability to show stars in place of radio buttons when collecting ratings.  In this case it is not common to use a mouseover highlight color, but rather when the mouse is over a star, it and all the stars that signify lower ratings are highlighted, for example by changing from an outline to a solid yellow or gold color.  In other words, when the mouse is over the third out of four stars, stars one through three would all be highlighted.

And speaking about using images in place of radio buttons and checkboxes, that can be a desirable feature for multiple choice questions as well.  The standard buttons and boxes work fine, but they look boring.  Replacing them with images that change when they are selected helps maintain interest.

Another option that can be engaging is to have a progress bar showing how far along people are in a survey.  This isn’t always practical, though, if a survey has a significant amount of branching, and opinions differ over how much progress bars help or hurt participation.  They probably mostly help when they show fast progress and hurt when they show slow progress.

These are just some of the ways in which sophisticated web survey software can make your surveys more engaging and encourage people to complete them.