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Using Surveys for User Experience Research

Jun 8, 2022

One of the most common misconceptions is that if there was a problem with your website or product, users would tell you. As invested as you are in your site, users are just looking for quick information or answers to their questions, so if they aren’t getting what they need from your site, they typically won’t take the time to tell you – they’ll just go elsewhere.

So how do you know if you’re providing a strong user experience or if you’re chasing away users and customers unintentionally? You conduct user experience research with the help of user surveys.

Why Should You Use Surveys for User Experience Research?

UX research can be a complex project to carry out, but don’t try to cut corners by skipping the critical step of surveying your users. As valuable as other UX research data is, like web analytics, you can’t learn everything from metrics and user behaviors. If you truly want to know what users think about your site or product, there’s no replacement for asking them for their opinions directly.

User surveys allow you to go a step further and get constructive, concrete ideas from users about how to improve your UX. You can also gather more detailed demographic information about the users who respond to your surveys, and therefore, find out how various audiences (i.e., different age groups or business users vs. personal users) experience your site or product.

How Do Surveys Fit Into Your User Experience Research?

To gather comprehensive and accurate results from your user experience research, user surveys should be one piece of a detailed and thorough puzzle. Most notably, your UX research should include three components: usage data or metrics, UX testing, and user surveys.

Usage data includes your site or tool’s analytics, which can give you a helpful overview of how users are interacting with your site. For example, look at data such as:

  • Average time on page
  • Page load speed
  • Conversion rates for each page
  • Bounce rates
  • Time it takes for users to complete a conversion
  • Pages viewed per visit

These and similar metrics will give you a sense of user behaviors and insight into various aspects of their experience.

UX testing involves observing new or existing users interacting with your site or product. You might give them a task to complete and see where they go to complete the task, how long it takes them to find out where to go, and so on.

User surveys fit into the puzzle by getting a genuine look into your users’ thought processes. You can find out what they like and dislike about your UX, challenges they face in their experience, and more. Essentially user surveys explain why your metrics and user testing results look the way they do and help you learn how to improve your UX.

What User Experience Survey Questions Should You Ask?

As you develop your user experience survey template, you want to include a variety of questions to gather practical, genuine, and useful feedback on your site or product. Start with these examples:

  • On a scale of 1-10, how easy is our website/product to use?
  • What features of our site/product do you use regularly?
  • How often do you use [site/product feature]? What would encourage you to use it more often?
  • What features of our site/product do you find difficult to use?
  • How can we make our site/product easier to use?
  • How much time do you spend using our site/product per week?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how time-effective is our site/product for you?
  • How often are you unable to quickly find the information or feature you want on our site/product?

Tips for an Effective Website User Experience Survey

As you create your user experience survey design and create a plan for carrying out your survey, you need to put some strategic thinking to use if you want to get the greatest value possible from your survey. Put these top tips into action.

Choose a Survey Tool with Open-Ended Capabilities

Most survey tools are designed to only allow for multiple-choice questions. Sure, multiple-choice questions are better than no survey at all, but the effect is that users are forced to choose from the options available that are closest to their true opinions and thoughts. You’re getting an obstructed view of their ideas rather than their genuine ideas.

Instead, use a survey tool like GroupSolver, which allows for open-ended questions where users can give you their authentic, unvarnished opinions. As an AI-driven survey tool, GroupSolver goes the extra mile by automatically categorizing these responses and processing them into quantifiable data.

Ask “Why” Questions

Asking users for “scale of 1-10” ratings only goes so far – you can’t fix a 6/10 rating if you don’t know why it’s only a 6. Make the best use of your user surveys by asking follow-up “why” questions for each rating question you ask. These will get to the heart of your users’ experiences and how you can improve them.

Use Positive UX in Your UX Survey

This may surprise you, but UX surveys are notorious for having their own terrible UX. If users are finding your survey difficult to navigate or overly time-consuming, they’ll leave it incomplete and you won’t get the answers you need.

While your survey should be long enough to gather helpful information, make sure it’s not so long that you’re inconveniencing users. Out of respect for their time and to encourage them to continue the survey, you should also give them a time estimate at the beginning so they know how long it will take to complete. Between these features and clear, well-written questions, you’ll allow yourself to gain more thorough insights from a wider pool of users.

Launching Your User Experience Research Survey

If you’re feeling inspired to jump in and start designing your user experience survey, there’s no better time than now. Request a GroupSolver demo to learn more about our advanced survey platform.


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