How to Use Surveys for UX Research

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How to Use Surveys for UX Research

Surveys are marvelously beneficial to the UX design research process. Knowing how to use surveys effectively can save you and your company time and money, and can provide your users with the best possible experience.

Surveys help give you with information that will let you understand users, and this will inspire you to design better products. They also provide stakeholders with confidence that a design is or will be effective. This is important for the money side of a project. Gathering larger sample sizes often appeals to business stakeholders.

Surveys also lessen your risk of designing the wrong solution for users. Use surveys to find good solutions that test your ability to think creatively and passionately. This will make you a better designer.


Before Making a Survey

Preparation is required when you embark upon any phase of UX design. This applies to surveys; make sure you understand the purpose of the survey and your product before you begin.

Why are you running this survey? Knowing the exact project objectives may help you determine which type of survey, collection method, and amount of evidence that you will need. This will also change your ideal approach.

Be sure to collaborate with your partners, supervisors, and clients as you calculate the purpose of a survey, because they will give you helpful insights about what type of evidence you’re looking for. Communication with your peers will help you structure the framework of your UX research, and therefore will be useful to you as you plan your surveys.


The Creation of an Effective Survey

Surveys are easy to make; unfortunately, this means that there are many sub-par surveys floating around online and on paper. Users dislike being pressured to complete surveys that are poorly designed or poorly written. Effective questions and a creative survey design are important for generating quality data and maximizing the rates of completion. Poorly thought out questions result in ineffective feedback. Convincing people to take your survey is difficult, so it is vital that your survey is interesting enough that people do not close out of the survey halfway through.


How to Make the Survey

When thinking of questions to include in the survey, follow the below guidelines. The survey formatting itself should be relatively simple; just use an online survey tool like Survey Monkey. These sites are easy to navigate, and they allow you to choose from various question types. You can make survey questions anonymous, and leave space for written feedback.


What to Think About as You Create Questions

Here are some ideas you’ll want to ponder as you formulate the survey.

Do the questions flow logically? The questions should be easy and quick to answer; to achieve this, they need to flow together in a logical manner. Jarring transitions are rough and distracting for survey takers. Minimize the unnecessary shifts of topic in your survey to help it become well organized.

Are the questions easy to understand? Make sure that your audience doesn’t need to look up any information in order to answer. If your users don’t understand the question, they may just guess, which will leave you with ineffective feedback.

How long is the survey? It’s tempting when writing surveys to add extra areas, because you want to understand everything about your users. But an effective survey is concise and easy to take. Edit out any questions that are not too relevant to your users.

It may be a good idea to include “I don’t know” options in your multiple-choice questions. There will be cases where participants simply don’t have an answer to your question. Forcing them to make a choice could result in ineffective feedback.


Types of questions

There are many different types of questions. They will help you find all different types of information about your participants. Demographic information can be a great way to start off your survey. It will let you know the participants’ age, gender, ethnic background, and educational background. You can use multiple choice questions to get answers that you want to be more directed. If you are looking for some specific information on how a participant feels about a situation, you would want to use an open-ended question. Lastly, you can also use ranking questions to get an idea of how well your participants agree with certain statements.


After Writing the Survey

You’ll likely want to test the survey before you show it to your full audience. You could ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you test. Don’t give them too much feedback on the survey background—only provide the information any potential participants would have. Ask them questions about the survey that will give you useful feedback.

Once the questions are clear and are easily answerable, launch the survey to some of your main audience. After you check to make sure that users are answering the questions in an expected way, go ahead and send the survey to every audience member you’re targeting.



In conclusion, a good survey requires thought, passion, and creativity. You’ll need to edit the survey many times, and strategize so that all the right people see the survey. Remember that UX design is about the people. Your goal is to engage users, and understand their thought processes. A survey is not idle or tedious work; it’s a tool for doing just that. 

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