At Grio, we pride ourselves on creating innovative web and mobile applications with beautiful, streamlined user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX). But how do we ensure that our UX appeals to an app’s target users? The answer is simple: UX surveys.
What is a UX Survey?
A UX survey is a user survey that helps you understand your audience’s user experience. It pinpoints the most favorite and most frustrating aspects of your application, product, and service. While UX surveys can happen at any stage in an app’s developmental lifecycle, we primarily perform them during the User Discovery Phase.
UX surveys are tricky because they tend to be high risk, high reward. If done correctly, you can gain valuable insights into your users, your product, and your long-term objectives. However, if done incorrectly, you can waste valuable time and resources without quantifiable results. It’s important to use best practices, like those listed below, to set your survey and your app up for success.
Types of UX Surveys
There are two primary types of user experience surveys:
- Quantitative Surveys: Quantitative surveys use statistically significant data to understand the overall opinions of your user population. They have specific answers for a participant to choose from, rather than offering up open-ended questions. Quantitative surveys tend to use question types like multiple-choice, checkboxes, dichotomous (yes or no), rating scales, or ranking orders.
- Qualitative Surveys: Qualitative surveys utilize open-ended and exploratory questions to give you more insight into the specific desires of individual users. They focus on trends in the comments, feedback, and suggestions of a smaller number of participants. At Grio, we like to use qualitative surveys with our clients and their users during the User Discovery Phase to make sure that our development is addressing the core objectives of the app.
Both quantitative and qualitative surveys have merit. Depending on your survey goals, you can use either a single survey type or a combination of both. For example, alpha and beta testers for Percept eyewear completed frequent user surveys that included both quantitative and qualitative questions so that Grio’s product team could gain insights into necessary improvements and next steps.
Other User Research Methods
While user experience surveys can offer great insights on their own, you can gain further insights into user experiences by combining surveys with other user research methods. Surveys provide insights into what users say they want or do, but other research methods, such as those listed below, provide further insight into what users actually do:
- UX Interviews: A UX interview is a one-on-one qualitative interview with a user. You can think of a user experience interview as an even more personal qualitative survey. UX interviews help you ensure you are getting feedback from your most important users, but they require extensive time and resources. For example, before designing the HERO Cloud web app for Daikin, we interviewed Daikin employees, business leaders, sales representatives, and technicians to ensure the app would be beneficial for all parties.
- Usability Testing: Usability testing lets UX designers look at a product from the user’s perspective. Designers are able to interact with the app like a user so that they can discover problem areas before users do. At Grio, we complete usability testing, also known as user testing, early in the app creation lifecycle to confirm that we are moving in the right direction and then continue to check our progress with usability testing throughout development.
Benefits of UX Surveys
The ultimate goal of user research is to gather data that allows you to make informed decisions about your web or mobile application and your product or service. So why choose to complete a UX survey over other methods of user research?
The most enticing feature of surveys is that they are easy to create and distribute. If your budget is tight, surveys allow you to reach the largest number of people for the lowest possible cost.
Surveys can be distributed to a large number of people quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re emailing your client list or sharing on social media, getting a survey to the masses is as simple as sharing a hyperlink. Surveys also tend to be quick and easy to complete, giving them a higher participation rate than many other user research methods.
Because they reach a large audience, quantitative surveys can provide you with statistically significant data to back your business decisions. Likewise, qualitative surveys can provide clear user preferences and trends, allowing you to confidently make choices you know your users will love.
By collecting large amounts of user data, surveys decrease your potential of creating a poor or flat-out incorrect solution for your users. When done correctly, a survey should provide a clear list of items that your users want to see in your app.
While other user research methods may address some of these points, surveys are the only tried-and-true method for collecting the thoughts and feelings of a large percentage of your users.
Disadvantages of UX Surveys
As we mentioned above, UX surveys are not foolproof. In fact, we’ve all seen clients who are unhappy with the results of even the best UX survey because they have unrealistic expectations about participation rates or survey results. Before you complete a UX survey, it’s important to understand some of their largest shortcomings:
Think of the surveys you’ve answered in your lifetime. Why did you complete them? Chances are, it was because you were either exceptionally happy or exceptionally disappointed with the service you received. Most surveys are completed by people on these extremes, so they don’t capture the viewpoints of the average user.
Sampling bias can also occur because of how you choose to share your survey. For example, choosing to send your survey via email, as opposed to mail or social media, will target a specific subsect of your user population. If you only look at the results from this population, you could unintentionally skew your results.
Even if you have a survey with the best quantitative and qualitative questions possible, surveys still have limitations. The amount of information you’re going to get from someone typing on their phone or laptop is far less than what you’ll receive from someone sitting in an interview.
There. We said it. The biggest disadvantage to UX surveys is that it’s easy to create a flawed survey. Whether you don’t understand your goals, you rush through question creation, or you don’t know how to successfully synthesize your data, your results are only as good as the survey you create.
How To Create a UX Survey
Let’s go through the steps we take for every UX survey we create:
1. Define Your Goals and Objectives
The first step in creating a UX survey, or performing any user research, is to figure out your what-what-how. Let us explain:
- What are you trying to learn?
- What do you expect the outcome will be?
- How will you use that information?
These questions can help you narrow down the goals and objectives of your user research.
2. Draft Your Questions
Draft your survey questions based on the goals and objectives you outlined above. Shorter surveys have higher participation rates, so make sure that every question you ask has a purpose. When reading through your questions, it’s also important to make sure that they are unbiased and use simple language. Leading, complicated, or vague questions will lead to results that may not accurately reflect the views of your users.
3. Select a Platform
Unless you’re planning to head out with pen and paper, you’ll need a platform that can host your survey and collect the results. At Grio, our favorite platforms for UX surveys include SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Qualtrics.
4. Draft and Test Your Survey
Once you’ve picked your platform, upload your questions and send your draft survey to some test subjects, such as the other designers and developers on the project. It’s always a good idea to get a few sets of eyes on a survey to ensure you’re not missing any important questions or unintentionally asking biased or complicated questions.
Transparency is also a good policy when sending a UX survey. Consider including introductory and concluding paragraphs that state who you are, why you are conducting the survey, and what you hope to learn from the users’ responses.
Once several people have completed your survey and provided feedback, you can finalize it and have it ready to send.
5. Launch Your Survey
This is the fun step! Copy that survey hyperlink and send it to all of your target users. Consider using multiple platforms, including email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, to reach as many people as possible and mitigate sampling bias.
6. Synthesize and Interpret Your Results
Once your survey is complete, you can begin the exciting process of synthesizing your data. Luckily, most survey platforms, including SurveyMonkey and Google Forms, will do most of the work for you, providing you with detailed reports about your data.
Elevate Your User Research Process Today
In today’s market, a successful app is one that puts the user first. If you want to create a stellar user-centric web or mobile app, you need to have an effective user experience survey to guide you.
At Grio, we can help you with every stage of your app’s lifecycle, from design through deployment. Contact us today for a free MVP app consultation or to find out how we can help you take your UX survey to the next level.