Blog: Seven Tips to Create a Successful Mobile Survey

Successful Mobile Survey

Over the last three years we have seen a steady rise in the number of healthcare market research survey completes on mobile devices, with an 8% rise since 2020. This increase is not too surprising, given mobile phones are becoming more and more indispensable, and technology needs to adapt to accommodate the trend towards ‘mobile first’ – is there anything a mobile can’t do in 2022?

When designing research with mobile in mind, it’s crucial to remember that there are limitations, and these must be considered throughout the programming process.

Desktop remains the dominant platform for survey completes at M3 Global Research, but this is slowing, increasing by only 2% since 2020. This indicates that as mobile devices are able to deliver increased functionality and improved usability, mobile is growing at a much faster rate.

We checked in with Miriam Haynes, Global Head of Survey Programming, and Beth Waugh, US Director of Quantitative Programming, to discuss the fundamentals of mobile programming, and what steps need to be taken to deliver responsive surveys, limit screenouts, and avoid survey abandons.

They shared seven simple and effective key considerations for mobile survey that should be part of the initial thought process when designing the survey materials, and how surveys are subsequently programmed.

  1. Use space limitations wisely
    • Keep the design simple, and free of logos, banners, headers, footers, progress bars, and other non-essential graphic elements.
    • Limit question types to those that are easy to answer on a smaller screen such as single selects, multi selects, and grids. Avoid questions that need text or numeric entries, and do not use dropdowns.
  2. Use voice recording
  3. instead of typing for open ends if these are essential to collect feedback.
  4. Limit length of survey
  5. This might include limiting questions to what is important, and / or using concise language.
    • Text length: be direct, and focus on one question at a time. Avoid using formal “research” language such as “Please review the answers below and from this list select….”
    • Length of instructions: keep them brief and to the point clearly directing respondents what to do, and include them only if necessary (often the style of question is self-explanatory).
    • Length of answers: avoid long lists when you’re conducting mobile research! If they are unavoidable, be creative in limiting the options wherever possible.
    • Use appropriate advance analysis methodologies to determine subsets across respondents rather than asking all respondents all answers
    • Break long lists of questions into sections.
      Example: if you have 100 questions, instead of overwhelming your respondent, break these into 5 groups of 20 with a multi-select option to select those relevant, combining them later for follow-up questions.
    • Total length: Target around 10 minutes.
  6. Split to multiple screens to avoid scrolling or expanding
    • Replace grids with one item at a time
    • Avoid horizontal scrolling
    • Consider both portrait and landscape orientations on mobile devices and instruct respondents to flip if needed
    • Use shorter or tighter scales. Example: end points defined only by stars rather than a 7-point scale with all points defined
  7. Limit video playbacks and large images
  8. They might take time to load and consume plans with restricted data usage
  9. Let mobile do what it does best to add additional value
  10. Consider asking respondents to provide image or video uploads (keeping in mind various privacy laws, especially around collecting personal data, ensuring appropriate consent agreements are in place, etc.).
  11. Make if fun
  12. Mix question styles: use sliders, star ratings, click to rank, classic single- and multi-select questions, carousels, and audio open ends

Employee Insights

M3 Global Research is a global leader in the healthcare market research world, so we asked our expert employees to provide 1-2 words that comes to mind when asked to define a successful mobile. See the word cloud for all ‘X’ answers.

If you have any questions about mobile surveys and programming, get in touch today.