From the Funnel

News and thoughts from the folks at TapTheory.

The design of your survey is incredibly important in improving your response and completion rates. When you create a survey for a mobile device, you have to think differently.

Put yourself in your respondent’s shoes: they are on the go and they want to help you, but they don’t have much time. Here are the 3 biggest mistakes people make when creating a mobile survey.

1. Asking more than 10 questions
Stick to 10 Questions
Activities on a mobile phone are meant to be short and quick. Creating a survey with 40 questions is not ideal for a mobile device. We’ve found the magic number is between 6-10 questions. Any more than that, people start to drop off unless you have a worthwhile reward.

2. Relying too much on open ended text fields

Try your best to reduce the amount of typing a person has to do while taking your survey. Use open-ended text fields wisely. If you can ask the same question using Single Select, Multiple Select, or Mood Response then do it.

3. Long labels and instructions

The screen for a mobile phone is only 3.5 inches wide. The real estate is small and you need to think concise when coming up with your labels and instructions.

Follow these 3 rules and you’ll have a better designed survey. By focusing on 10 questions, using question types carefully, and being concise, you will have a higher chance of increasing your response and completion rate.

For the Cloudstock Hackathon, we built a small application called Boomerang. It was a frantic 5 hours going from concept to completion, but we did it by playing to each of our strengths and committing to a very focused idea. The whole design phase lasted 120 minutes and this is how Jimmy and I worked in parallel.

Step 1: Sketching
For Boomerang, we knew it was important to take the time and iterate to get the kinks out the concept. Once I opened Photoshop, I knew there was no time to turn back.

It’s necessary to get your hands dirty with design. For apps, that means sketching. There are great prototyping tools, but when time is short, nothing beats a pen and paper. I focused on things I knew I could easily experiment with on paper:

  • Layouts
  • Control Positioning
  • Interactions

Once I had a general feel of how the application would look and act, I was ready to work on the layout to pass onto Jimmy.

Step 2: Deliver the Layout
When the clock started, Jimmy focused on getting the infrastructure for the app setup. While I spent 30 minutes sketching, he kicked off a Rackspace CloudServer instance, got Django running, and obtained his Twilio API key.

To get started with his development, he needed to get an understanding of how the application was supposed to work. Using all the sketches I made, I put together a more orderly version of the layout.

With this simple picture, Jimmy could start cranking on the application.

Step 3: Craft the Design
As I was sketching, I already had a sense of what the final design would look like. I even put it in my notes.

With only 90 minutes to design, I had to lock-in my colors, textures, and control styles.

For colors, I started with the dominant orange from the Cloudstock logo.

For textures, we wanted to continue the Cloudstock feel subtly, so we incorporated their flower pattern into the background.

When users added an event, I wanted it to feel more industrial-control like. So the background for that area was a textured grill.

I chose these styles for the buttons and form elements:

With the layout, colors, textures, and controls, putting together the final design was just about moving fast. I delivered this final comp with the two main states for Jimmy to work from. I also tossed into a shared Dropbox folder all the assets he needed like background images, logo, shadows, and icons.

What’s next for us?
The hackathon was detour from the bigger project we are working on called Funnel. We’ll be announcing more details and letting customers use it starting January. If you are interested in getting on our private beta, join our interest list. We promise to do more posts like this on Funnel once it launches.

What is Funnel?

Funnel is the easiest way to create forms and surveys for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

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Funnel is designed and built by TapTheory