How to Use Online Surveys to Improve UX on a Website

Reading time: 4 minutes

Surveys require time and effort from the issuer, so the question is “does it pay?” In short, yes. You need website visitors to have a good experience when they visit your website because that is an expectation. Additionally, failure to provide a positive experience can keep visitors from returning. Consider that visitors might quickly flock to one of your competitors if your design is confusing or full of bugs.

Therefore, website owners often view user experience (UX) surveys as powerful tools to gather feedback and learn more about visitor behavior. In application, these tools give website owners insight into how people are using the page and provide a foundation to understand what works and what doesn’t when your development team starts making improvements.

What is a website survey?

A website survey is a method of obtaining qualitative and quantitative feedback on a webpage or an entire website directly from the end user. These surveys can include a series of open-ended or closed-ended questions, but are more likely to include a combination of the two. Marketers often use these tools to increase repeat visitors or leads in the case of a business website. Although the feedback collected directly benefits the website owner, it also helps the end user to have a better informed experience.

Due to the growing importance of UX surveys, many web hosting platforms already provide plugins or other widgets to simplify the survey creation process.

Setting up your online survey

Keeping in mind the importance of collecting great feedback, it’s up to you how you’ll design your survey and start collecting responses. Below we consider a breakdown of the steps to do so.

Selecting your feedback tool

With onsite tools, website owners can understand who their visitors are and what brought them to your website. These tools provide this information in the user’s own words, giving insight into a visitor’s true level of satisfaction. However, as multiple tools exist, website owners should consider price, features, and ease of integration before making a decision.

Determine the objectives of your survey

Before writing your survey questions, users are encouraged to consider what they hope to accomplish through these efforts. At this point, questions worth asking include, “why is our team sending out this survey?” and “are there any specific features we’re hoping to get feedback on?”

With the answers to these questions in mind, users will be able to better plan and write their related surveys. Essentially, users will have a baseline or guide to follow when taking this step.

Compare survey types

Online surveys can take many different forms, perhaps the most common being a pop-up window. With a pop-up website survey, visitors automatically see questions after encountering a certain trigger event. While this type of survey is hard to ignore, it is also considered more intrusive than the widget survey alternative, which appears in the corner of a page as an “optional form to fill out”.

Location location

After narrowing down the data you hope to glean, investigators will need a more detailed plan to target the right people with the right message. Your survey will need to exist somewhere, whether sent by email or as part of the website browsing experience.

If you decide to embed the survey as part of your website, the next question will be: “which pages will trigger the survey?” Analysts often use Google Analytics (GA) tools to determine which pages attract the audiences they hope to target.

Design for Simplicity

After determining your survey objectives, website owners need to consider how they can make the process of answering questions as easy as possible. For example, most users are unlikely to want to take a survey in the first place, unless companies offer them a gift card or other monetary incentive. Therefore, if your team cannot provide this, it is in your best interest to keep the survey short by reducing the number of questions or clicks by eliminating free-form responses.

Consider the moment

After this stage, interviewers are encouraged to determine at what stage of the user journey they will elicit feedback. For example, if the website visitor is shopping online, your site might encourage them to answer a few survey questions based on their most recent shopping experience. By doing so, website visitors will have some context for the survey they are filling out.

Optimize for mobile

It’s no secret that the world is moving towards mobile at an increasingly rapid pace. With mobile users more active than ever, it’s more than likely that your visitors will respond to your website survey on a mobile device. Therefore, it becomes crucial to optimize the survey experience for these devices by using a responsive design with clickable answers instead of open-ended questions.

Collect responses

Once you’re happy with your website design, you’re ready to bring your work to life and start getting responses. Launching your survey on the website is probably the easiest step in the process, often requiring the click of a button to deploy. The tool you choose in a previous step will then do its job and offer the survey to eligible visitors. The only time you may need to intervene will come down to a problem occurring which may require some minor tweaking to keep it working.

Most analysts will have predetermined the number of responses they would need to derive statistically significant solutions. Therefore, it is then the survey manager’s job to wait until at least that many people have submitted responses.

Analyze the results

After receiving feedback from your online survey, users will gain insight into their end users, needs, and intentions. Keep in mind that depending on how you choose to set up your survey, the survey may already group respondents accordingly. For example, your survey may only be available when website visitors land on a page such as your mixer product description. Therefore, your survey audience is already grouped or segmented in a way that users can go ahead and start viewing the results. In contrast, website owners running generic campaigns for general feedback will likely need to segment these audiences before comparing results.

Once you’ve had a chance to turn raw data from survey responses into analysis reports digestible by the less technical members of your team, you’ll be well equipped to make suggestions for improved UX. After this step, teams can prioritize concepts and test them continuously (possibly via A/B testing) until they determine the most optimized version of their website.

Melvin G. Rodriguez