We frequently focus our user research around ways to measure improvements. But first, we need to identify a baseline. After all, the only way to measure how much better a new user experience is, is to understand where we came from. And one of the easiest, and most efficient ways to measure the baseline experience is to send out surveys.
Surveys allows us to gather a lot of information about users’ requirements and expectations. We can then use that information to adjust a product or service to fit their needs. In addition, surveys:
- Enable us to question large groups of participants
- Can be done remotely
- Are relatively cheap
- Allow large amounts of data to be gathered quickly
Creating a survey isn’t difficult, but to do it well takes preparation and practice. This article will provide a how-to, along with some best practices to follow.
Planning and objectives
Before we write down any survey questions, we need to think through what we want to accomplish, and who will help us get the information we’re seeking.
Before the main goal of the survey can be defined, the researcher has to fully understand the overall objectives. The best way to do that is by conducting stakeholder interviews. When I was preparing a recent customer survey for a web development company, I spoke with developers, project managers, communication managers, and team leaders at their organization. As a result, I got the full picture of the company: their mission, their services, the types of customers they work for and the main touch points they have with their customers. This knowledge helped me determine one main goal for the survey: