I remember the first survey I was asked to complete in the street. I can’t recall what the survey was about – I just remember that it was very long, some of the questions had to be repeated before I understood them and the next question often took no account of the previous answer given! An increasingly frustrating exercise for me and an increasingly awkward one for the person with the clipboard.
It would be nice to think that surveys like that are a thing of the past but they’re not. It’s difficult to understand why. For one thing, paper surveys are expensive: there’s the cost of the paper, printing postage, feedback scanning and/or transcribing to consider. They do have their place but in most situations, there are far better solutions than paper.
Imagine if the researcher I met had a tablet-based survey.
Let's for a second review the benefits of a tablet for conducting feedback surveys. Long questions could be simplified through the use of images and animation and questions could be routed so the next question asked takes account of the last answer given. Simplification and the use of images and icons would make the survey less dependent on the respondent’s ability to read English well. In fact, the survey could have a multi-language option which means it could be displayed in the respondent’s native tongue – an increasingly important factor in today’s society.
And what if the survey was designed to elicit feedback from children or difficult-to-reach groups such as those with learning difficulties? The use of images, animations, video and narration have all proved to be really effective in these contexts.
Tablets are both mobile and connected
Also,the tablet-based survey is just as mobile as paper but the results come immediately; there’s no time-lag whilst feedback is collated, batched and transcribed into whatever analysis and reporting system you’re using. Instead, the results come instantly meaning that you can make business decisions quickly in response to points raised.
Tablets also automatically collect meta-data such as the location and time of day when the survey was completed, they can be managed remotely and can be locked down and fully secure.
In summary, tablet surveys are cheaper in the long run, more flexible, more effective and more engaging at garnering feedback than their paper alternatives and they yield insights more quickly.
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