Monday, February 14, 2011

Are Your Respondents Suffering from Choice Fatigue?

I just saw this interesting article on the Neuromarketing Blog about choice fatigue.  They site several studies that show that customers really just get tired of choosing.  And a study on voting patterns in California showed that the lower an item is on the ballot, the less likely it is that people will vote on it.

And now that so much voting has gone to electronic ballots - voting starts resembling online surveys - doesn't it?  And having done both, I'd say that it isn't just the choice that's exhausting -- it's the wording of the issues -- or the questions that actually tired me out.

It takes a lot to keep a respondent engaged - and how you structure your survey can have a lot to do with that.  Here are a few hints to keep your respondents engaged while they take surveys:

- Use the "progress bar" feature - this way respondents can see how much further they have to go before it's over.

- Keep it short - Keep your surveys as short as possible.  The ideal length is under 10 minutes, preferably 5.

- Not too many pages- Don't make your respondent click through 20 pages of questions.  Group questions into categories and let them see 3 - 5 questions at a time.  Use page breaks to help respondents transition from one topic or type of question to another.

- Include pictures and media in your survey.  With Survey Analytics and QuestionPro you can increase the likelihood of respondents being more engaged by inserting video or audio.  Use the presentation text question type insert the embed code for your picture, video or audio.

- Word questions at 6th grade level - Part of the issue with choosing and voting is that the brain is processing each choice and actually living through it.  If your respondents is working too hard to understand the question, they will simply skip it or quit altogether.  Use the Flesch-Kincaid readability Index to test your copy.  To turn it on it Microsoft Word, simply click on File/Options/Proofing and check the box for "show readability staitstics".

This short list should get you moving on the right track.  What are some of your tips and tricks for keeping respondents engaged and moving through the survey process?
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