Level Up Your DIY Survey Game: Part Four “Simplifying the Survey Journey”

Here we are, everyone. The final part of our DIY survey course. It’s been a fantastic journey so far, and we hope you’ve been able to pick up some valuable tips and tricks to help improve your DIY survey game. We’re also hearing a lot of positive feedback, which means you’re all feeling more and more confident! And you should! You got this! Today we’re going to look at how we can simplify the survey journey for our respondents. Think of it as the finishing touches to the masterpieces you’ve been creating throughout this series. Alright. Let’s finish strong!

Streamline the survey with show/hide logic

One of the best ways to simplify the survey path for your respondents is by utilizing show/hide logic. Here, you can direct respondents to focus on the most important questions you have for them based off of the information you know about them. You can also create different questions or probes for respondents that belong to different demographic traits, or for respondents who have answered previous questions in a particular way. 

Sound survey logic is a win for everyone involved. It’s a win for the respondents because rather than an unnecessarily repetitive survey, they’re getting a more relevant and efficient experience. It’s a win for you too! Now you can avoid conflicting information and any situations where irrelevant answers stand to dilute the important questions you’ve designed.

Check respondent fit with compassion

Let’s get real for a second. We humans aren’t perfect. Shocker, right? We make mistakes all the time. Keep this in mind as you build your attention checks. Build-in any “trap” questions with the sole intention of identifying respondents who are truly not participating honestly. We suggest using clear, standalone checks as opposed to a grid row buried in the last 15 items. With these grid questions in particular, you’re asking our respondents to lock into a higher-level mindset, so it may not be the best time to test their attention.


Our suggestion is to consider putting multiple checks in your survey—it’s just a more fair approach to look at various failures as grounds for removal rather than honing in on a single mistake. Don’t get us wrong, we are very serious about getting good, clean data—it’s just that we see the best results when surveys factor in that human element. Being overly strict can add inadvertent bias to your data, so avoid being too painstaking with checks. 

Give yourself a reality check

Now it’s your turn. Think. If someone asked you questions about a product or category you weren’t exposed to on a regular basis, would you have a hard time understanding the lingo? The truth is, there’s likely a huge difference between how you think about your category and how your respondents will think about it. You’ve got a nuanced view of your category and know all brands and sub-brands, along with the benefits and claims of each and every one. As we said before, be careful not to use technical terms or familiar jargon for your brand. Now’s a good time to check that.

Understand that most consumers don’t see your brand’s place in the world the exact same way you see it. Sometimes they just need deodorant or toothpaste, so they stroll down the aisle and pick one. You want to help them help you, so use visuals or start your survey at the higher brand level. Get them thinking about sub-brands or benefits and help them think of ways they can recognize what they do—seeing it on a printed list isn’t the same as seeing it on a shelf, in your bathroom, or kitchen. If you can add visuals to your survey, do it—it’s a huge help for respondents.

Walk a minute in their shoes

Ok, we began this series with empathy, and we’re going to end with it too. Now is the time to take the survey you created, but try and complete it from the viewpoint of a consumer. We highly suggest you give this a shot before you launch the survey—you can catch so many mistakes! As you do this, keep an eye out for any minor typos, flipped grids, or formatting that just doesn’t work. If you’ve worked hard to build logic into your survey, make sure that you go through it from several angles too, thinking about who you’re including and excluding and how your piping and hide/show logic are working.

Bonus points if you have someone take your survey instead of you. A colleague with a fresh set of eyes will provide honest feedback about what doesn’t connect as obviously for them as they did for you. All we’re saying is to take the time to proof and tweak your survey before you launch it to your response panel.

Simple enough?

Hey, that wasn’t so difficult, was it? We know there’s so much that goes into designing an awesome survey, just remember to keep things simple for your respondents. Here’s a quick recap for ya. 

  • Keep it simple by utilizing show/hide logic and by tailoring some question types to specific demographics. 
  • When it comes to checking respondent fit, just remember that we all make mistakes—you don’t want to limit your data by being overly strict with checks. 
  • Remember: Multiple simple checks are going to yield better results than attention checks in a grid almost every time. 
  • Realize that the way you look at your category is different from the way your respondents will look at it—they are casual observers and consumers, this is your bread and butter.
  • Proofread. Walk a minute in their shoes, or even better, find someone to do it for you to ensure that your survey doesn’t just make sense to you as a researcher.

Well, that’s it for our series on leveling up your DIY survey game. We really hope you’ve enjoyed this—we certainly have! But if this wasn’t enough, we’ve also put out a brand new guidebook to refer back to as you make your way through the creation of your next couple of surveys. We’ve even added some extra nuggets in there for you, including some handy visuals to help get the full picture of each suggestion. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments—we’d love to hear from you.