10 Mobile-First Survey Design Best Practices

Incorporate these 10 tips into your next mobile survey to best optimize your market research.

1.Remember the reality of the real estate. The mobile phone screen offers just 5% of the PC’s available real estate.  

2. Design for both portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) view. Your respondents will choose their preferred view so the questionnaire must work in both orientations: Item lists should be short enough for the full list to be visible in landscape view and scales should be narrow enough to be fully visible in portrait view. 

3. Reduce the number of words in the questions. People communicate with fewer words on mobile. We may need to replace longer questions with shorter ones that retain the same meaning and remain well defined. This could be a real challenge! 

4. Redesign Flash elements. Flash is no longer supported on mobile devices  

5. Start with the mobile design and size up. A design that works well for a mobile will work well on a PC. So size up instead of starting with a PC-design and trying to scale down.  

6. Design the functional elements first. Anything that people have to touch, like “next” buttons, radio buttons or check boxes, should be as large as possible and have as much space around them as possible. Traditionally, questionnaire designers focused on the text then fitted the functional elements around it. In a mobile world, we need to reverse the process. 

7. Test on multiple devices. Also test thoroughly in both portrait and landscape view.  

8. Avoid scrolling designs. Instead of asking people to scroll or pinch to expand, reduce the number of items in a list or grid. Scrolling is much faster on the mobile phone (so users may see just the beginning and end of the list and miss the items in the middle.) The transition to mobile can be an ideal time to rethink the design of grid questions. 

9. Make text boxes as large as you can. Research shows that the larger the box, the more words are typed in open-end responses. 

10. Resist the temptation to use the full functionality of the phone. Features like the spinning “wheels” seen in mobile calendars are attractive from the design point of view but could be awkward for users and cause incompatible or unexpected results. 

To learn more about how you can make your surveys more mobile friendly, contact us for more information.