survey metadata

Think of all the tasks we use our phones or tablets for these days—from filling out applications, to coordinating travel arrangements, to catching up on favorite shows.


When you ask people to take an online survey, you should expect that a significant portion of your respondents will complete the survey on a mobile device, particularly your younger respondents.


Designing your survey to accommodate mobile devices can help you retain more respondents and can give you better data, especially if some of your questions pertain to experiences with mobile purchasing, websites, or apps.


Here are 4 simple tips for mobile-friendly survey design:


  1. Remove any unnecessary content. Screen space is at a premium with mobile surveys, and mobile respondents are often in more distracting environments. To keep the focus on the questions, remove additional content like logos, unnecessary text, and external links.


  1. Make sure that vertically oriented response scales have the positive options at the top and negative options at the bottom. Respondents tend to expect that positive things will be displayed at the top of the screen and negative things at the bottom. Leading with negative responses may confuse your respondents and lead to lower-quality data. Here’s a scale that’s oriented correctly:




  1. Avoid horizontal scrolling. On mobile devices, some question types won’t fit on-screen, especially questions with a matrix, grid, or table. If this happens, you’re likely to get lower-quality data because respondents will avoid the part of the screen that requires horizontal scrolling to see—or they might get frustrated and quit the survey altogether.


  1. Be careful with ranking questions. Ranking questions that require respondents to drag and drop items may be affected by different screen sizes. Unless the survey software has been specifically designed to accommodate ranking questions on small screens, it may be best to use simpler approaches such as numeric ranking.