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How are good Web Design and good Survey Design related?

written by Craig Vance

Attractive Surveys – More Than Just A Pretty Face?

You know a poorly designed website when you see it.  It elicits the desire to cringe and avert your eyes – and never go back again!  Whatever company, brand or person owns the site doesn’t have a fighting chance.  But think a little more about what makes it so intolerable.  Is it the organization of content, the color scheme, or maybe it’s just too difficult to read?  Aesthetics are probably a big part of the reason you would leave, even if you don’t make that connection initially.  Most poorly designed websites are disorganized, provide too much or too little information, use distracting or loud color schemes and images or are just plain difficult to read.

Now, think of a website that you really like.  Even if you can’t exactly put your finger on what makes it attractive, you may feel much more strongly about the company or person that website belongs to.  In our digital age, how good something looks and how easy it is to use is almost as valuable as what it provides to us.  Web design has come a long way since the early stages of the Web, and design continues to be even more responsive as consumers change how they interact with media.  Things that were only dreamed of 10 years ago are now common in our Web 2.0 world.

While web design has made very big strides over the years, Marketing Research seems to be much more resistant to change – at least from a design perspective.  Web surveys, for the most part, look much the same today as they did at the “birth” of online panel research.  There are online survey formats that I wish would go away and never return, for the sake of all.  Many surveys are almost too ugly to read or understand, not to mention frustrating to people participating in surveys.  They are boring, long, and sadly, aren’t even nice to look at.

If a poorly designed website can’t be expected to command the attention – or purchase – of a customer, why would we expect a poor web survey to keep them involved?  Surely, online surveys can’t be exempt from the demands of the general public.  When we serve up a poorly designed survey, we should expect the same results as those from a poorly designed website.  Respondents will run away screaming and vow never to return.

So, why not make research beautiful too?  And what would happen if we got more of what we really wanted out of a well-designed survey – actionable data?  Maybe better survey design really is worth all the trouble.

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Categories: advertisin/marketing advertising Market Research Questionnaire Design

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